Monday, 1st March 2021
This leads on from the breadmaking blog from 3 weeks ago
I first made this loaf in lockdown 1: I only had wholemeal flour. Not that it was a problem but I wanted to make it tasty and go with other things I had in the cupboard (see soup recipe following).
Wholemeal flour absorbs more water: the bran takes it up. The date syrup is a brilliant ingredient as it adds sweetness but is a very natural sugar (wholemeal bread really benefits from a little sugar to help the yeast and gives a ‘roundness’ to the flavour); I normally use malt extract which is similar but never had any (you find that in jars in health food shops). Oil or fat helps develop the structure of the loaf- so these ingredients all have a purpose. As I said in the last bread blog the basic bread ingredients are flour, water, yeast and salt.
Adding the walnuts and raisins again develops the flavour profile: Raisins contain fibre and vitamins, they are also dried naturally in the sun, most come from the Thompson grape (which is green!). If you want to read more about raisins try California raisins UK website- they have lots of recipes and information. California raisins Walnuts contain ‘good fats’ (polyunsaturated) Omega 3 and vitamin E.
When making the dough follow the instructions: It is important to knead well- you can do the same as the focaccia- knead for a few mins- rest for 10- knead again, helps if you are struggling to get the texture. Dough is now left (see recipe)
I have French proving basket (called a banneton). I love it: it must be floured well. It gives the dough a good shape. You could also tins, round or rectangular, the dough makes a large loaf or two smaller ones, or a baking sheet- but whichever you use make sure you cover the proving pieces as they form a thick skin that is not very nice to eat once baked.
Once your bread has proved (doubled in size), I would flour the top- if you use a serrated knife you make some decorative cuts now- they can also help expansion in the oven, (baking instructions on the recipe). Flouring makes the crust look and taste nice- it is really hard to get a good crust in a domestic oven as commercial ovens have a steam function which gives better crust.
I have included a soup recipe: a vegetarian version of Minestrone It is loaded with vegetables (it would be easily adjusted to be vegan-check your stock cubes and pasta). Again you could change the vegetables to use up what’s in the fridge (or use frozen). This becomes a hearty meal!
Wholemeal Walnut & Raisin Bread
500 g Wholemeal Flour
7 g Sachet of Fast Action Yeast
20 mls Olive Oil (or Rapeseed Oil)
320 mls Warm Water
8 g Salt
20 g Date Syrup/Black Treacle or Malt Extract
75 g Walnuts
75 g Raisins
Easy Minestrone Soup
It is a hearty soup which contains lots of vitamins- approx 4 servings
To make it look professional garnish each bowl with chopped parsley
3 Sticks of Celery
1 Tablespoon of Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic Chopped Small (optional)
1 x 400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
1 x 400g Tin of Cannellini Beans (but you could use Baked Beans – wash off juice)
2 Tablespoons of Tomato Puree
100 g Small Pasta Pieces (or Spaghetti broken up)
! Vegetable Stock Cube
1 Litre of Water
½ A Small Cabbage, or Kale, or Spinach, or a mug of Frozen Peas
Salt and Pepper to taste
– Sue, Hospitality & Catering lecturer