Adapted from a recipe by Amy Scherber. This is one of several that takes 2-3 days to complete. It's totally worth the effort.
- 1 1⁄2 cups walnuts (coarsely chopped)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 cup water (105-115 degrees)
- 2 tablespoons water (105-115 degrees)
- 5 tablespoons honey
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons walnut oil
- 2 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour (unbleached)
- 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour (for kneading)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- cornmeal (for sprinkling)
- ADDITIONAL INGREDIENT: 3/4 cup basic bread sponge (from my published basic bread sponge recipe).
- Try using 1/2 cup maple syrup instead of honey. And subbing pecans for walnuts.
- Can use olive oil instead of walnut.
- Amy seems to like her bread a bit salty. I wouldn't be afraid to reduce the salt to 1/2 or 3/4 teaspoon.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet, roasting until fragrant and golden brown, about eight minutes. Cool.
- In a bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Allow to proof for three minutes.
- Stir the sponge, honey and oil into the water, breaking the sponge up using your hands or a spoon.
- Add 2 3/4 cups of the flour and salt and mix, scraping and folding until the dough gathers into a single mass. Knead, in the bowl, until the dough becomes soft and only slightly sticky, using the additional flour gradually as necessary.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead the nuts into the dough until they are evenly distributed. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Halve the dough and shape each piece into a ball and place on a flour-dusted kitchen towel. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a draft-free location for two hours.
- Sprinkle a baking sheet generously with cornmeal. Gently press one of the dough balls down on a lightly floured surface and then reshape into a ball. Do the same with the other risen ball. Place both balls, with the seams on the bottom, on the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, in a draft-free location. This should take 2-3 hours.
- Preheat the oven for at least thirty minutes along with a baking stone or tiles on the middle rack to 425. Place a baking pan with decent sides on the bottom shelf. Boil two cups of water. Using a razor blade, make an 'X' in the top of each of the loaves. Pour the boiling water into the baking pan. With a quick jerk, slide the loaves off the sheet and onto the stone.
- Bake for (20?) 30-35 minutes until the loaves are hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom and when an instant read thermometer inserted into the middle of the bread (from the bottom so you don't mess up its appearance) reads 190°F When done, cool on a rack.