It was during the holidays that I had encountered the most wonderful rustic bread. It was a whole wheat bread made with sweet raisins and crunchy walnuts. I didn’t even get to taste the bread, but I couldn’t stop thinking of it.
Our Italian friends from Bologna had family in town. Marta’s sons are wonderful cooks. Her one son Geoff also happens to be a wonderful baker. That evening Marta made homemade tortellini and farfalle to go with her delicious Bolognese sauce. There was also a delicate mushroom sauce for the vegetarians.
Geoff baked bread for dinner that night and he also baked this bread for the family to enjoy for breakfast the next morning.
I snapped a quick photo of Geoff’s bread with my camera. It was rustic perfection.
Marta, the Bolognese mamma, offered for me to take some home. She was going to break one of the breads for me and I said declined her offer. I know…very unlike me! Who can turn down the offer a freshly baked rustic and gorgeous bread. What was wrong with me? What in the world was I thinking to turn down this heavenly homemade baked good.
But I did and I regretted it the whole drive home. I kept thinking of it’s thick crust and sweet smell. I was imagining having a slice for breakfast with my caffe latte. I asked Geoff to share the recipe with me and he said it wasn’t written down and he perfected it after trying different recipes. He promised to email me the recipe when he returned home after vacation. I couldn’t wait.
I started googling whole wheat raisin walnut breads and I settled on Zesty Cook’s bread. It looked as similar as I could remember to Geoff’s recipe.
I had some as soon as it cooled that evening and I had some for breakfast the next day. Fabrizio wasn’t interested. He said he can’t get into it with his caffe latte and said it would be better with cheese…more savory than sweet. I was into it. I was digging it.
Can you dig some rustic and wonderful homemade bread?
My friend Deb from Italian Food Forever lives in Umbria part of the year posted a recipe for a similar bread. She does hers with a biga (sourdough starter). Her recipe is the one I will try next.
I came across this gorgeous Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread on Pinch My Salt. There was not a recipe with the bread and it is making me want to buy The Bread Baker’s Apprentice to get the recipe. It looks incredible!
I found this blog called Azelia’s Kitchen with a Walnut Raisin Bread. It has great photos with directions.
Rustic Raisin Walnut Bread
source: Zesty Cook
Ingredients1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
3/4 cup raisins
2 cups lukewarm water (105° to 115°)
2 Tbs. honey
2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 – 2 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
1 cup walnut halves, coarsely chopped
MethodIn a large mixing bowl, stir together honey and 1/2 cup of the lukewarm water. Add yeast and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water.
Stir in the whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups of white flour and salt. Stir until well combined. Keep adding the rest of the white flour until dough leaves sides of bowl.
Sprinkle flour on a clean counter or flat dry surface. Turn dough onto the surface and knead 5 to 10 minutes, adding more flour if needed, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Be sure not to add too much flour.
Lightly oil a large mixing bowl. Place dough in bowl and turn to coat. Cover with damp cloth and set aside in warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Place a piece of parchment paper on a large baking sheet.
It rose beautifully.
Punch the dough down and dump it on to floured surface. Gently knead the raisins and walnuts into the dough. Shape (round, long, square,) into 1 large loaf and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover with damp cloth and let rise in a warm, draft free area of your house until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Using a spray bottle spray loaf with water. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and bake 30 minutes or until nicely browned. Cool on rack before slicing.
What is your opinion? Would you eat this bread for breakfast smothered with jam with your coffee or tea or as a savory treat with delicious cheeses?
Thanks for coming by to say HELLO:) Happy baking!