Friday, August 6, 2010


Walnut Bread Picnik-Collage 2 bis
I definitely love making bread. There is something so therapeutic as well as rewarding about it. Not only does it help you release all tensions, get relaxed, brings you joy and happiness, but it also give you the impression of being more alive and anchored in you body. The dough feels so organic as well as real that it puts you feet back on the ground and helps you center yourself. It is a kind of meditation or yoga. And the smell and taste of homebaked bread is so soul-uplifting. A real key to inner harmony...

"All sorrows are less with bread."
Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Although I cannot imagine living without eating this marvelous staple I nonetheless try to limit my bread consumption (too much starchy food is not good for the health). During the week I rarely eat bread, but when the weekend comes, then you can be sure there there'll be a bread orgy at my place! I always make sure to have fresh bread on the Sunday brunch table and on Fridays or Saturdays we generally eat pizza, gourmet sandwiches, hamburgers or bread and cheese or something of this kind.

Two weeks ago I bought tons of cheese (Tommes du Vigneron, Cantal, Fourme d'Ambert, Chabichou du Poitou, Petit Livarot, Camembert & Cancaillotte) in neighboring France (Ferney-Voltaire). As my favorite way of serving cheese is the traditional Swiss/French way (with bread) and those cheeses deserved to be eaten with a more refined kind of bread, I decided upon making "Walnut Bread". No other nut than the walnut pairs up as perfectly with cheeses that have character.

I chose to adapt one of Beth Hensperger's recipes (California Walnut Bread, page 150) from her great and very useful bread book "The Bread Bible: Beth's 300 Favorite Recipes". That recipe is really interesting as walnut oil is added to the dough, for extra flavor. The original recipe calls for using only unbleached all-purpose flour. As I wanted my bread to be a little healthier and have more flavor I replaced part of the white flour by a little rye and whole wheat flour. This resulted in lovely loaves full of aroma.

That delightful "Walnut Bread" was the perfect accompaniment to my extra "stinky" cheeses. As the dough contains milk and oil it's texture was just like that of toast bread; smooth, soft and fluffy. Taste-wise we were not at all deceived. My bread had lots of oomph and was so fragrant. This "Walnut Bread" is highly satisfying with it's multi-dimensional gusto and exhaliratingly nutty savor. Terrific!

Walnut Bread Picnik-Collage 6 bis
~ Walnut Bread ~
Recipe adapted from Beth Hensperger's "The Bread Bible".

two 20 x 10cm (8 x 4 inches) loaves or two round loaves or two batards or about 20 dinner rolls.

Ingredients for the "Sponge":
2 Tbs Active dry yeast
1/4 Cup (60ml) Warm water (no hotter than 46° C/115° F)
2 Cups (255g) Unbleached all-purpose or bread flour
3 Tbs Runny honey or light brown sugar
2 Cups (480ml) Milk, at room temperature
Ingredients for the "Dough":
1 1/2 Cups (190g) Walnuts
1/2 Cup (105ml) Walnut oil
1 Tbs Sea salt
1 1/4 Cups (160g) Whole wheat Flour
3/4 Cup (100g) Rye flour
1 Cup (128g) Unbleached all-purpose or bread flour

Walnut Bread Picnik-Collage 3 bis
Méthod for the "Sponge":
1. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer (using the paddle attachment), whisk together the yeast, water, flour, honey or sugar and milk. Beat hard until smooth and creamy. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a towel and let rest in a warm spot (room temperature) for about 1 hour, or until bubbly.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F). Spread the walnuts evenly on a baking sheet and roast them until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes. Let the walnuts cool and then chop them coarsely.
3. Add the oil, salt and 1 Cup (128g) of the flour to the sponge. Start mixing (using the hook attachment). Add the walnuts and the remaining flour 1/2 cup (60g) at a time until a soft shaggy dough is formed (it should clear the sides of the bowl).
4. Machine knead the dough for about 5 minutes or until the dough is moist, smooth, springy and passes the window-pane test. Add a little flour (1 Tbs)during the process if it's too sticky.
5. Transfer the dough to a greased deep container/bowl and turn once to coat the top. Cover with plastic wrap or a humid towel. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
6. Gently turn the dough out onto the work surface and divide into 2 equal portions (or in 20 portions). Shape into round, batard or standard loaves (or shape into 20 little rolls). Place on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet or in greased loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a humid towel. Let rise at room temperature until double in size, about 45 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 190° C (375° F) twenty minutes before baking.
8. Bake the loaves on the centre rack of the preheated oven for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until brown and hollow sounding when tapped. Let cool on a rack.

You can replace the walnuts by any other nut of your choice. In that case use an oil in relation to the nuts you've chosen (hazelnuts = hazelnut oil).

If you want to make a white bread version, then replace the rye and whole wheat by unbleached all-purpose flour.
This bread can also be made without using a mixer. Use a sturdy wooden spoon instead and knead by hand.

Serving suggestions:

Eat this bread with cheese or make sandwiches (Pastrami, Mortadella, chicken salad, etc...) with it.


Walnut Bread Picnik-Collage 4 bis
~ Pain Aux Noix ~
Recette adaptée de Beth Hensperger "The Bread Bible".

Pour 2 pains rectangulaires de 20 x 10cm
ou 2 pains ronds ou 2 bâtards ou 20 petits pains.

Ingrédients pour le "Poolish":
2 CS de Levure sèche
60ml d'Eau tiède (pas au dessus de 46° C)
255g de Farine blanche
3 CS de Miel liquide ou de sucre brun
480ml de Lait entier, à température ambiante
Ingrédients pour la "Pâte":
185g de Noix de Grenoble
105ml d'Huile de noix
1 Cs de Sel de mer
160g de Farine complète
100g de Farine de seigle
128g de Farine blanche

Méthode pour le "Poolish":
1. Dans le bol d'un mixer/batteur (utiliser le batteur plat), battre ensemble la levure, l'eau, la farine, le miel ou le sucre et le lait afin d'obtenir une mélange visqueux, crémeux et homogène. Couvrir avec du film plastique ou un linge humide (sans les alisser toucher le mélange) et faire lever à température ambiante pendant 1 heure ou jusqu'à ce que le mélange soit mousseux.
2. Pendant ce temps, préchauffer le four à 180° C. Mettre les noix sure une plaque recouverte de papier sulfurisé et les faire griller pendant environ 8 minutes. Faire refroidir les noix et les hacher grossièrement.
3. Ajouter l'huile, le sel et 128g de farine au poolish. Avec le batteur (+ crochet), commencer à pétrir. Ajouter les noix et la farine restante par petites quantités (60g à la fois) afin d'obtenir une pâte molle qui ne colle pas aux bords du bol.
4. Pétrir au batteur pendant 5 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que la pâte soit humide, douce et, élastique.

Walnut Bread Picnik-Collage 5 bis
5. Transférer la pâte dans un bol huilé et faire tourner la pâte afin que l'huile la recouvre. Couvrir avec un film plastique ou un linge hunide. Faire lever à température ambiante pendant environ 1 1/2 à 2 heures ou jusqu'à ce que le pain ait doublé de volume.
6. Mettre la pâte sur le plan de travail et la diviser en deux parts égales (ou en 20 portions). Former en un pain ronds, bâtards ou en pains rectangtulaires (ou faire 20 petites boules rondes). Recouvrir la plaque avec du papier sulfurisé et placer les pains sur la plaque. Couvrir avec du film plastique ou un linge humide. Laisser lever à température ambiante jusqu'à ce que les pains aient doublé de volume, pendant environ 45 minutes.
7. Préchauffer le four à 190° C
au moins 20 minutes avant d'enfourner les pains.
8. Cuire les pains au centre du four pendant 35 à 40 minutes, ou jusqu'à ce qu'ils soient dorés et sonnent creux. Laisser refroidir complètement sur une grille.

Vous pouvez remplacer les noix de Grenoble par les noix de votre choix. Dans ce cas vous devez utiliser une huile fabriquée avec les même noix que vous avez utilisé (par ex. noisettes = huile de noisette).
Si vous voulez confectionner un pain complètement blanc, alors remplacez la farine de seigle et la farine complète par la même quantité de farine blanche.
Ce pain peut aussi être confectionné sans l'aide d'un mixer. Il vous faudra utiliser une cuillère en bois bien solide et pétrir la pâte à la main.

Idées de présentation:
Ce pain est délicieux avec du bon fromage ou lorsqu'il est utilisé pour faire des sandwiches (pastrami, mortadelle, salade de poulet, etc...).

Walnut Bread Picnik-Collage 1 bis


  1. Miam, du pain aux noix!!!! Vraiment ces pains ont l'air tout à fait délicieux!!! C'est vrai qu'avec un bon fromage goûteux, il doit être super!

  2. It looks absolutely delicious!

  3. This bread sounds so great with your cheeses! And, I love the Don Quixote quote.

  4. Yummy ...
    I love the dry salame as well.

    You not afraid of spider? It's freak me out. But, I must say it is beautifully captured through your camera.

  5. I love the shape of the bread. It looks perfect.

  6. Quel magnifique pain, il a l'air savoureux!!

    Bon vendredi chère Rosa:)

  7. Lots of "oompf" in this bread, I am sold. I too keep away from the starches for the most part....but there is always a time and place for a homemade bread straight out of the oven. xo -gorgeous post :)

  8. il mio abbraccio per augurarti serene vacanze^^ à bien tôt :)

    mais je prend un morceau de ton magnifique pain :)

  9. Cervantes is right!
    Ta photo sent le bon pain!

  10. I love making bread myself, but don't get to do it to often...yours looks fabulous!!!

  11. Oh how lovely! The spider shot is awesome.

  12. I can see how baking bread and taking photos would be very therapeutic Rosa.

  13. the bread and the spider (that could be the title of a movie) I too think that baking bread is therapeutic, and your breads look amazing, cheers!

  14. Certainly! Las penas con pan son menos. Cervantes could never be wrong anyway.

    And specially with this delicious walnut bread (my favorite).

  15. I'm so agree with Cervantes!!!
    I'm a bread mad and this one looks so delightful!

  16. Bread looks delicious. Rosa. when get fresh bread from oven the smell is intoxicating.

  17. Happy weekend, Rosa! I am with you - the weekend is for bread - I am making three kinds today for company!!!

    This looks lovely! I am allergic to walnuts, so I am going to have to go with hazelnuts - oh darn! ;)

  18. Schönes Nussbrot. However, bradbaking is not mine :-(
    kind regards

  19. I love making bread too. There is simply nothing that makes your home smell better. Walnut bread is lovely! Thank you for posting this recipe! xoxo

  20. now i've got homemade bread on my mind -- too bad it's been so insanely warm around here lately

  21. your post is awesome:a delicious bread,homebaked and amazing pics!

  22. Hey Rosa, making bread is therapeutic-me thinks. Walnut bread sounds so nutty and wholesome too. I want a slice right now with a little butter!

  23. Rosa...therapeutic indeed. I already get that same feeling that comes over me when I bake in general or do my oil paintings. It's the only moments in my day where I never stress over my clients and their exigences.

    Your bread sounds delightfully hearthy and delicious.
    You really are slowly convincing me to start baking my own bread.
    BTW...bread is like a magnet for me and unfortunately I do have a difficult time controlling my carbs. Adding insult to injury...Hubby works for a very large cheese company and he's been warned that they can only get treated on during the weekend. A girl has to watch her waistline ;o)

    Ciao for now,

  24. Humm...Très belle recette de pain maison! J'adore le pain au noix !

  25. Oh how I love fresh bread! I am a little intimidated when making it, though. Yours looks so delicious. I have never tried walnut bread, but I know I would love it. I can almost smell it from your beautiful photos:)

  26. I agree with you that making bread has a therapeutic effect. If it weren't so blasted hot here, I'd be baking that delicious walnut bread today.

  27. A beautiful bread, love the walnut:)

  28. I really love your description of the therapeutic nature of bread making. You captured it very well, and I totally agree...
    Beautiful photos as well!

  29. Totally agree with you on everything you've said about bread making.
    Love the addition of walnuts in your bread. Can't wait to make and have it with some goat's cheese!

  30. Your post makes me want to bake some fresh bread!

  31. Oooo I love, love, love walnut bread! This is great!

  32. Avec du pastrami, je sais que ce serait excellent!

  33. That is the perfect loaf of bread, Rosa! I bet it makes the best cheese sandwiches!

  34. sooo magical photos! I can`t stop looking at these pics!

  35. What a pretty loaf, Rosa, and walnut would be a wonderful flavor to enjoy.

  36. Fresh out of the bakery! I like it more when you bake! :-))

  37. Lovely bread and what a better way to eat these wonderful cheeses than with a freshly made paix aux noix! Love the addition of rye to the dough!

  38. I could eat that bread every day for the rest of my life. ;)

  39. This bread sounds and looks amazing. Rosa you are such a baking inspiration for me. Can't wait to sample, when I am next brave enough to bake!

  40. A bread orgy? That really brings up interesting images in my mind! Love the walnut bread Rosa...espcially with the addition of walnut oil.

  41. Beautiful! I can smell it from here!

  42. I really should bake bread more often. your walnut bread looks lovely!

  43. Le pain aux noix est un de mes préférés :-) Le tien a l'air très réussi !
    Je profite de mon passage pour te dire qu'une petite surprise t'attend sur mon blog ;-)
    Bises et bon dimanche !

  44. Oh my God, Rosa. Whatever you touch and do is so beautiful and full of detail.
    Well done.
    Wishing you a great Sunday ♥

  45. Bread with salami or smoked ham...The kind of things I like to eat for breakfast. Yum:)!

  46. You read my mind... This afternoon i had such a craving for bread and went to a restaurant and treated myself with assorted platter of whole grain and seed breads. And was thinking to look up for some good bread recipes when i get back home and voila u have it here!!. Looks terrific!. Ur ekmek comes out really well now i will give this a shot!. Happy 5th birthday and many more happy returns!. Good show Rosa!!!

  47. Un régal ce pain avec les noix!!
    Il a l'air très moelleux!

  48. This bread looks beautiful.

    I love your visual eye also. =) You're very talented.

  49. delicious work, rosa! the soft bread contrasts nicely with the crunchy bits of walnut. :)

  50. I love baking bread, and I really love walnuts so this recipe is a must try!

  51. Il est superbe ce pain aux noix. Comme chez le boulanger.

  52. I agree. Making bread really is therapeutic. This walnut bread sounds perfect and your loaf looks like it just came out of the best french artisan bakery. Beautiful!

  53. Wow. Your loaf looks absolutely INCREDIBLE! Lovely.

  54. An interesting comparison might be to start the sponge (poolish) with some (or all) the rye and wheat flours. Let the yeast work on those before adding white flour, to add depth of flavor. N. Silverton uses such a sequence with a sourdough walnut recipe in her Breads of LaBrea.

  55. Your walnut bread looks so appetizing even that it is a lighter walnut bread then I am used too!

    I love the walnut oil in here!!

    I also love your vibrant pictures!!

    Kisses from Brussels!

  56. What a lovely bread..mmmm walnuts. sounds great.

    Nice to follow you. do visit me sometime. Happy blogging.