This is a 70% hydration loaf – which is nice and easy to work with. Not too sticky but not too firm either. It is studded with roughly chopped walnuts and chunks of visible parmesan cheese. I single handedly ate this loaf over the course of a few days – 2 slices a day with lots of butter definitely brightened up my work day. It is definitely one of my favourites breads I have made! If you like nuts and cheese, and like proper chunks of these in your bread, you would feel the same way I do about this loaf. As you may see from the photos, it was snowy outside so it was lovely to sit in and tuck in to home made bread.
500g strong white flour
100g parmesan cheese (chopped into rough chunks)
100g roughly chopped walnuts
1 and a half teaspoons of salt
1 and a half teaspoons of cracked black pepper
7g fast action yeast
First, mix the flour with the salt, yeast and pepper. Ensure that the salt does not directly touch the yeast.
Next, add the water to the dry mixture. Mix until a rough ball is formed.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Knead until the dough is soft and elastic and passes the ‘window pane test’. (remove a small piece of dough and you should be able to stretch it into a paper thin, semi-transparent sheet of dough. When you are able to do this it means that you worked the gluten enough).
Cover the dough with cling film and set aside to rise in a warm place, for about 1 hour – until about doubled in size.
Next, knead the parmesan chunks and walnut pieces into the dough. Might be a little frustrating initially but it will come together, give it time!
Shape the dough by folding it over itself (letterfold), then creating a smooth surface by stretching the dough and pinching it on one side. Place into a well floured banneton (I use half rye flour and half corn meal – rice flour is also meant to be very effective, but I don’t have any) with the smooth, taut surface of the dough face down. This is so that when you turn it out the top surface will be nice and smooth.
Cover with a tea towel or cling film. Let rise again for about 45 mins to an hour (start preheating the oven to 230C 10 minutes before the dough has finished rising). You will know it’s ready when the dough springs back a little when lightly indented by your finger. Over proofed dough will not spring back much, if at all, and under proofed dough will quickly spring back all the way.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly greased baking tray. Slash the surface using a sharp knife.
Place in the middle shelf of the oven and bake for ten minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 200C. Bake for a further 30 minutes.
Let the bread cool… if you can wait!