As a cheese lover, the relationship between cheese and bread is an interesting one. Cheese really shouldn't be assigned to a fate topping that ubiquitous cracker which at times, can spoil the whole experience. One of my favourite matches for a strong cheese, like a blue is a walnut bread, studded with meaty chunks of walnut this offers a counterpoint to the intense flavours.
In this bread I'm making today I'll be using spelt flour - I've used it before when I made focaccia. It's a lovely textured flour that gives the dough an appealing chocolate tinge.
Spelt is an ancient species of wheat and you should be able to find it at specialist stores - here in Melbourne, Macro Wholefoods in Richmond sells it in bulk! If you can't find Spelt, use any strong whole-wheat flour.
Besides using walnuts I'll also add sultanas - the sweetness from them just gives the bread another level of flavour and works wonderfully well with blue cheese. It will also partner with a strong goat cheese, gruyere and an oozing triple cream camembert. If you're not too fond of sultanas, try using dried figs.
Walnut and Sultana Bread
300 grams Spelt Flour
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon walnut oil (or olive oil)
250mls tepid water
100 grams walnuts
100 grams sultanas
Place the honey and yeast in a small bowl and at 50mls of the tepid water. Stir to combine and let sit in a warm place for 5 minutes to make sure the yeast is active.
Sift the salt with the flour and add to the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the activated yeast and oil and begin to mix - add the rest of the water 50mls at a time. You may find you don't need to add all the water or you may need to add more water - this will just depend on the flour. Stop adding water when it's just about fully mixed then continue on a slow speed until a soft smooth dough forms. Naturally enough, you can do this my hand if you so desire.
Add the sultanas to the bowl and mix until they are well spread through the dough. Remove the dough and place it on a lightly dusted board. Flatten it out, sprinkle with walnuts and begin to knead them into the dough - doing it this way rather than adding it to the machine means that the walnuts won't break up as much.
Once this is dough form into a ball and place on a baking sheet. Rub the surface with a little olive oil and make a few decorative slashes across the top. Leave it in a warm place to rise. You won't be needing to knock this back after it rises - it goes straight in the oven.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/390°C.
Place the loaf into the oven and cook until golden and it feels hollow when tapped. This should take about 30 minutes. If you think it's browning too quickly, drop the temperature back to 180°C/350°F.
Cool on a wire rack.
Cutting the loaf you'll see that chocolate tinge in the dough and a good spread of sultanas and walnuts. This is perfectly fine to just toast and eat as is or get hold of some good cheese and taste the difference for yourself.
Tagged with Bread