Spelt, Honey and Walnut Bread
One of my “new years resolutions” is to bake fresh bread more often. I find it therapeutic and it actually helps me to collect my thoughts and just simply calm down and get back in touch with reality. The whole reasoning behind this is that you cannot fast track bread making, it takes as long as it takes, it’s slow with magnificent and very rewarding results. I try to apply this “method” to my life, slow things down, give it plenty of thought, a generous helping of good food and water, plenty of time, plenty of warmth and love and it’s remarkable that the end results are worth the effort and time.
I have chosen not to use a traditional loaf tin to bake my bread , instead I felt ready for a free form and shall we say a more organically shaped loaf of bread. I must admit it’s fun and you are not quite sure what the end result will look like. I’m pleased and it’s looking great, very home made indeed!
Spelt is also a grain I have been supporting for a long time now. I like the nutty flavour it gives my bread. You should remember that if you use wholemeal or spelt flours in your bread baking you need to make sure there is enough water to support the flour, it’s dry and generally absorbs a bit more than white bread flour. If the dough looks a bit sticky at the beginning, do not worry, just knead the dough and it will all come good as the gluten delveops and the flour starts absorbing the water. If there is not enough water the loaf will be heavy and it will not prove as well as you would expect.
This spelt, honey and walnut bread is not only hitting the health spots but its remarkably delicious. This recipe makes two generous loaves and as it’s freshly made with out preservatives it will not stay fresh for very long. So I sliced the remainder and froze the slices of bread for a rainy day. It’s superbly delicious with cheese and chutney or you could challenge yourself by making your very own best ever sandwich
My best ever sandwich must be the one I made with this very loaf. I could kick myself for not taking a photo of this amazing sandwich, I suppose I was more interested in getting it down the “hatch”. Anyhow the sandwich consisted of two slices of this spelt, honey and walnut bread, fairly thinly sliced; flaked roast chicken; a tablespoon of freshly made grain mustard, celeriac and apple remoulade and crisp fresh watercress. As I’m writing this recipe and reminiscing about that superbly delicious taste combination my mouth is watering and I think I’d better get baking and making again!
The challenge for today is then to think about the best sandwich you ever made and tell me all about it. I do not mind if it’s a virtual one, go wild and feed the imagination!
- 250g strong white flour
- 250g spelt flour
- 10g table salt
- 20g fresh yeast or 7g dried yeast
- 20g honey
- 250ml water
- 100g walnuts
- 1 free range egg yolk
Place the yeast, 50g flour and the honey in a small mixing bowl and add 50g of the water, mix well, cover and leave to prove for 30 minutes in a warm spot until the mixture starts to bubble.
In the bowl of a mixer add the remaining flour, bubbling yeast mixture, walnuts, salt and the remaining water together. Attach the dough hook and mix the bread dough on slow speed for 10 minutes.
Grease a large mixing bowl. Once the dough is ready turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape the bread dough into a smooth ball. Place the smooth bread dough into the greased mixing bowl and cover the bowl with a clean dry tea towel. Leave to prove until the dough has risen to double in size.
Preheat the oven to 200°C and dust two baking sheets with flour, set aside.
Gently turn the bread dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough into 2 x 420geven size dough balls.
Roll each ball into a evenly shaped smooth ball, place each ball onto the dusted floured tray and cover gently with cling film or a clean dry tea towel and leave it to prove for the second time until nearly double in size. Brush the risen bread carefully with the egg yolk and use a knife to make small cuts at the top of the risen bread.
Place the baking sheets in the preheated oven and pour 100ml of cold water directly onto the floor of the oven and shut the door quickly. The water will give a burst of steam that will help the loaves to puff and form a lovely crust. Bake the loaves for 35 - 40 minutes, give the bread a tap at the bottom and if it sounds hollow it means the bread is cooked, place the bread onto a cooling rack dust it with white flour and leave to cool completely.
Makes 2 x 420g loaves.
Food Fanatics Tips
Wholemeal and spelt flours absorb more water so if the dough feels slightly sticky at the beginning do not panic as the water will soon be absorbed. If there is too little water from the start your bread will be heavy and dry. Never use fast action yeast, I have had disasters every time I have used it. I normally ask my local supermarket for some fresh yeast, if they have it they will normally be pleased to give you a small piece for free.