Monday, May 11, 2009

Rustic Candied Walnut Loaf

Sometimes you need some "stuff" in your bread. I'm usually not a huge fan of bread with chunks of stuff in it, but I felt it was time to finally give a loaf a try. I came across a recipe for Caramelized Walnut Bread and knew it was the one to experiment with.

It's a very hearty bread with a fair amount of rye and whole wheat flour in it. Along with the candied walnuts, it's a very satisfying slice. I whipped up some butter with orange zest and honey to spread on the bread which was a fantastic addition.

I could obviously still use some work on my bread scoring, and I slightly over floured the top of the bread, but it was delicious non the less. This bread utilizes an overnight preferment, so plan ahead. But that also means it will last several days and still taste great.

Caramelized Walnut Bread
Adapted from


The night before:
1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 cup dark rye
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

Day of:
1 1/2 cups bread flour
3/4 cup dark rye
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon salt

Caramelized Walnuts:
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon butter

The night before combine the "Night Before" ingredients together and mix. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit on the counter for 12 - 16 hours.

The next morning place the chopped nuts onto a cookie sheet and bake in a 250F oven till lightly toasted (or toast on a medium warm dry skillet on the stove – but keep an eye on them). Then set aside to cool. Pour the sugar and water into a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil till the mixture comes up to a 240F (I didn’t take the temp, but it was boiling rapidly and starting to color and foam) . Add in the toasted nuts. Keep the saucepan on the heat and continually stir till the mixture turns a golden brown. Remove from the heat and add in the butter and mix. Pour mixture out onto a silpat or grease parchment paper to cool. Set aside.

Add the "night before" mixture into a large bowl. Pour in the water and stir. Add in the rye, whole wheat flour and instant yeast. Mix together until well blended and the mixture is smooth. Allow to rest for 10 minutes uncovered.

Add in salt and slowly add in bread flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until it becomes too hard to mix. Pour the mixture out onto a floured surface and begin to knead in the rest of the flour. Knead for 8 - 10 minutes, you want the dough to be on the sticky side. If you need to add more flour do so with just a tablespoon at a time. Pour a little oil into a clean bowl and add in the dough. Turn over a few times to very lightly coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1 1/2 hours or until double in bulk.

After the dough has risen pour out onto a flat surface. Flatten out the dough with your fingers to release some of the gas – but keep it relatively gentle, you want to retain some of the air in the bread for a nice soft crumb. Add the caramelized nuts on top and knead just till blended. Cut dough in half and shape into two balls. Sprinkle some cornmeal or flour onto a piece of parchment paper and place the loaves on top. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1 hour or until doubled.

Remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle a little flour on top. Score the top of the bread with a sharp knife. The loaves will be going into a 450-degree, preheated oven with a baking stone on the middle rack and a cast iron pan or broiler pan on the bottom rack. To create some steam. Once you place the breads into the oven pour about a cup of hot water into the hot pan and close the door. Bake for 30 -35 minutes or the internal temp is approximately 205-210 degrees.

Submitted to YeastSpotting at Wild Yeast


Adeptus said...

I love walnut bread (and am lucky it seems popular enough here in Germany) and have been thinking about making some for ages, but candied walnuts? This I have to try! :D

Ruthie said...

it was really a delicious surprise. i had not expected the sweetness of the candied walnuts and just couldn't stop slicing just a little more...

Grandma said...

that wasn't ruthie - who was sneaking slices - that was grandma.
sorry ru.

Susan said...

Oh caramelized walnuts, what a good idea! The orange honey butter sounds delicious too.

Mary said...

What a great idea. I love walnut bread. I know I'll adore caramelized walnut bread :).