Thursday, April 14, 2011

Walnut Raisin Bread

I love that this bread is crusty on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. I must say, the bread looks gorgeous as if it came fresh from a bakery! Plain bread is good, but bread with nuts and fruit is even better. This recipe requires no kneading which is perfect for me and any of you who also do not have a good quality food processor to knead the dough for you. Just mix everything together by hand and wait 18 hours to enjoy! Simple and worth the wait!

3 cups bread flour
1/ 2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
Pinch of black pepper
1 1/2 cups cool water
additional flour for dusting

Equipment:  4 1/2 to 5 1/2 quart heavy pot with lid


In a medium bowl, mix the flour, raisins, walnuts, salt, cinnamon, yeast, and pepper.  Add the water and stir until you have a wet, sticky dough.  Cover the bowl and let dough sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

Dust a work surface with flour and use a rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece onto the work surface.  Using floured hands, gently form the dough into a round.  Be careful not to overwork the dough, you just want a rough, round shape.

Place a towel on your work surface and dust it with flour.  Transfer the dough to the towel and dust the top lightly with more flour. Fold the ends of the towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until it is almost doubled. If you poke  the dough with your finger, it should hold the impression.  If it doesn't, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

15 minutes before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. (I added a little olive oil to the pot to prevent the bread from sticking. I rubbed the oil along the sides as well.) Place the covered heavy pot in the center of the rack.

When second rise is complete, remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the towel and quickly invert the dough into the pot.  Cover the pot and bake for 24 minutes.

After 24 minutes, remove the lid and continue baking until bread is a deep brown color, 10-15 minutes more. (Check after 10 minutes.)

When bread is done, gently lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly.  Resist the temptation to slice into the hot bread!  Let the bread cool for at least an hour.

This bread is best eaten within 2 days of baking.  We love it with cream cheese and fruit jam.

Source: My Bread

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