Recipe Number One Hundred & Twenty Eight: Page 292
This walnut and raisin loaf won the vote on my Facebook Poll this week by quite a margin. I have to admit that bread comes as a welcome change from cakes. All of this cake eating is of course wonderful, but there's no escaping the side effects. My clothes are starting to feel a tad tight, so I was pleased to make some bread and have a cake free day. This particular loaf appears to be rather healthy as it contains wholemeal flour, nuts and dried fruit; it sounds perfectly virtuous!
Before I made a start on the bread my little boy decided that a trip to the swings was in order. I'm expected to take him in all weather conditions, although I do draw the line at torrential rain! Thankfully, on this occasion there was not a cloud in the sky, but my goodness it was windy. Isaac certainly lifted a little higher on the swings. By the time we returned home I looked as though I'd put my finger in a light socket – not a pretty sight! I was happy to head to the warmth of the kitchen and make up a comforting loaf of bread. The thought of tucking into a slice (more likely two) with an afternoon cup of tea spurred me on. Isaac had thoughtfully laid out an assault course for me to liven up my baking. I kept stubbing my toe on tins of chopped tomatoes and baked beans!!
First of all, I had to put an equal amount of white and wholemeal bread flour into my largest mixing bowl. To sweeten the bread, I tipped in a tablespoon of muscovado sugar. The last dry ingredient needed was a little ground cinnamon which smelt wonderful; is there a more comforting smell? Now to add a little melted butter and warm water. I was just about to mix everything together when I realised that I hadn't added the yeast – what a disaster that would have been! I quickly located a sachet and added it to the runny mixture. I did worry that I had perhaps added too much water. However, after stirring it all together, it turned out that it was a bit on the dry side if anything! Mary says it should be a fairly sticky dough. I was tempted to add a touch more water but I resisted as I thought that I would probably make matters worse. When I tipped the dough out onto the worktop it was so easy to work with; the five minutes of kneading whizzed by. I popped the by now smooth and elastic dough into a bowl and covered it with cling film. It was rather chilly in the house but thankfully the sun was shining, so I placed my bowl of dough on a window sill for the recommended hour and a half. When the time was up, I was glad to see that it had risen well and was at least double its original size.
Walnuts and raisins are in the recipe title; now it was time to make use of them. I didn't bother to chop the walnuts. They are a fairly soft nut so I was able to break them up with my fingers. I think it was quicker this way; even if not, it was more fun! I flattened the ball of dough out onto the worktop and pressed in the nuts. It was a bit of a balancing act as they kept rolling off! I weighed out the raisins and pushed them on top of the nuts. I kneaded the dough as best I could with all its added lumps and bumps. It took a while to work everything together. I rolled the dough rather haphazardly into two sausage shapes. I couldn't help but notice that one was MUCH larger than the other. I never thought the day would come, but I weighed each piece of dough!! I obviously have a dreadful eye. No wonder I never win games such as guess the weight of a jar of sweets. There was over a 100 g difference between the two – I know, it's shocking!! I readjusted my two lumps of dough and re-rolled them in a sausage fashion once again. I placed them onto a lined baking tray and tucked it into a ‘bag for life’ carrier bag - they have many uses. I then left them to rise on the baking tray for another 40 minutes or so. I of course forgot all about my loaves. It was over an hour before I remembered and jumped to attention! They had risen beautifully. I brushed over some beaten egg for a glaze and put the tray into the oven for around 20 minutes. The smell of baking bread is always amazing; add in cinnamon and it's intoxicating. The loaves looked wonderful once cooked and were a lovely golden brown; I couldn't wait to cut a slice. Once I was able to touch the bread without scalding my hand, I cut a doorstep wedge from one of the loaves and took a bite. It was rather yummy! I could really taste the cinnamon and raisins. I was surprised that Mary says it's a savoury bread as I thought it to be quite sweet. I could certainly taste the walnuts but they were more a background flavour. Of course their crunch was much in evidence! The texture of the bread wasn't heavy but I wouldn't describe it as light either, I expect this is due to using both white and wholemeal bread flour. The texture fitted in well with the cinnamon and raisins. Neil absolutely loved this bread. Every time I looked at him that evening he seemed to be eating it!
I'm not sure that having bread instead of cake really made much difference to my waistline as I smothered each slice with butter – whoops!!
|Yummy bread hot from the oven!|