Sunday, August 2, 2015
100% Whole Wheat Walnut Bread
This is a great bread to have in your repertoire: easy to make, healthy (whole grains and walnuts, rich in omega-3 and antioxidants), and delicious. Unlike the cheesecake, which my daughter refused a second piece of because she wasn't ready to die, this bread could be on anyone's list of foods that are good for you. True, if you eat it with slabs of cheese or slathered with sweet butter and jam, it might lose its place on the list, but I'm not responsible for that.
You start out with a thin mixture that doesn't look much like bread, and instead of the dough hook, you use the whisk. This is water, honey, whole wheat flour and yeast.
You make another flour mixture and strew it on top of the batter. This flour mixture is supposed to contain vital wheat gluten, which I used to have on hand when I made at least one loaf of bread a week, but don't any more. Fortunately, I guessed that the gluten, while nice, wasn't necessary. I added an equal amount of durum flour, which is nothing at all like vital wheat gluten, so it wasn't a substitute at all. I just like its flavor. (So I guess technically, my bread is only about 98.7% whole wheat bread, which admittedly doesn't have the same ring to it).
The toasting, skinning, and chopping of the nuts. I always remove a lot of walnut skin, but never fuss with them enough for all-white walnuts. I admire you if you do.
You can see that this bread dough is very wet and sticky. Honestly, at this point, it doesn't look too promising. Even after 10 minutes of kneading, it doesn't cling to the dough hook or form a ball. But Rose warns you that this is the case, so it's nothing to worry about.
This is what it looks like when it's ready to go into the oven, after three separate risings. One of the risings took place in the refrigerator because I was called on babysitting duty. Obviously, this is one of the advantages of bread dough--you couldn't just cover cake batter with plastic wrap, shove it in the refrigerator, and come back to it four hours later. All I did was let it come to room temperature while I preheated the oven.
It's a pretty homely loaf of bread on the outside. But I had hopes for inner beauty.
Which I got.
I took the bread out of the oven around 10:00. Jim asked when I was going to cut a slice. "Tomorrow morning," I said. He wasn't happy with that answer, but he waited, and we both had some for breakfast. I had mine toasted; his was untoasted. Either way, it's good with butter and jam. And it's probably good with cheese, too, but I didn't want blue cheese before 7:00 a.m. I didn't know that was a rule of mine, but I guess it is. At 10:00, I'd eat it with cheese and fruity jam.
Rose says you can make it without nuts if you want a basic loaf of whole wheat bread, and that would be fine, but I think it's the crunchiness and flavor of the walnuts that make this bread special. I didn't have walnut oil on hand and forgot to buy more; I think it would be even more flavorful if I'd done that.