500 gms Strong White Flour.
10 gms fine salt. I use sea salt but any will do.
5 gms instant yeast.
50 gms walnuts, or more if you want. either halves or pieces.
1 tbsp Olive Oil. And a bit more for your kneading board.
310 ml (or grams) of tepid water, I weigh mine for accuracy. (25% boiling and 75% cold will give you the right temperature)
Now, I have to be upfront here, I have a Kenwood Chef. It helps and ensures that my arms are still able to swing a golf club after the kneading process. It is not that difficult to do all this by hand but if you have got a mixer use it.
Off we go then. First roughly chop the walnuts into small pieces then put all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl (or your mixers bowl) Flour first then salt to one side and yeast to the other making sure they don’t come into contact with each other (the salt can kill the yeast if they meet too soon) then add the chopped walnuts.
Add the water and olive oil and start mixing with your hand to bring all the ingredients together into a dough. The dough should be not too solid and not too sloppy….. just in the middle, you know, kind of squidgy!!
When it has all come together in the bowl smear a board with a bit more olive oil and turn your dough out onto it
You now need to knead for about 10 minutes. That means stretching , turning and folding the dough until it feels quite silky. You are developing the gluten doing this and giving the dough structure. When you feel the time is right….. your arms are aching…. Flatten the dough out and turn the corners in, turn the dough over and, cupping your hands underneath, turn it and gradually form it into a ball.
If you’ve used a machine to do the kneading you can skip the first half of the preceding paragraph and pick up where it says “Flatten the dough out” although you might like to stretch it a bit so you feel you’ve done some work.
When you’ve got your ball, lightly oil the inside of you bowl and put the ball inside. Cover with cling film and go and do something else for an hour to an hour and a half until the dough has doubled in size.
When your dough has doubled in size turn it back out onto your board, this time with a dusting of flour to stop the dough sticking. Now keep folding the dough, left into the middle, right into the middle then turn through 90 degrees and do the same again. Do this until al the air is out of the dough then bring the 4 corners into the middle again and form back into a ball the same as before. Place your ball of dough on a large baking tray, dust the top with flour and cover with a tea towel.
It will take around 45 mins to double in size again so get the oven going. Heat it to 250c fan or as hot as you can get it if it doesn’t go that high. When your dough has risen slash the top (nerve wracking, this bit) Use a sharp knife and glide it over the top to form a square (or any shape you fancy) then pop it in the oven. Bake at your high temperature for 10 mins and watch in amazement as your loaf rises even more in the oven. After 10 mins turn the oven down to 190 and carry on baking for another 20 - 25 minutes. It will sound hollow when you tap it on the bottom if its done.
That’s it, let it cool and admire your masterpiece …. THEN, TUCK IN!!