Hearty Whole Wheat Walnut Bread

Hearty Whole Wheat Walnut Bread

This is totally my ideal everyday bread. It’s hearty and whole-grainy enough to be healthy—in my book, at least—and it’s even laced with good-for-you flaxseed meal. It makes killer toast in the morning—try it with peanut butter—it’s amazing with cheese, and it makes a great turkey, tuna, or egg salad sandwich. I’m listing the ingredients in both volume and weight measurements because a) this recipe is accompanying a post about why it’s great to own a kitchen scale, and b) weight measurements makes the ingredients especially quick and easy to put together.

I got the basic recipe and method a handful of years ago from my friend Rosemary Mark, and have been adapting it ever since, eventually getting to this version I adore. But Rosemary has several variations on her site, different flavors as well as a quicker preparation method. I keep wanting to try her Lemon-Rosemary Bread. Soon.

Once my loaf has cooled, I slice it, put it in a resealable bag, and stash it in the freezer, where it’s good for at least a couple of months. Maybe more, but I wouldn’t know—it never lasts that long. :)

Makes one 2 3/4-pound loaf (about 8 inches across and 4 inches tall)

  • 2 1/2 cups / 300 grams bread flour
  • 2 1/2 cups / 300 grams whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup / 120 grams chopped walnuts (see notes)
  • 3/4 cup / 75 grams flaxseed meal (ground flax seeds) (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon rapid rise yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups / 550 grams cold tap water
  • All-purpose flour, for the proofing basket (see notes)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons rolled oats (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the flours, walnuts, flaxmeal, salt, and yeast. Add the water and stir until the ingredients are combined. Cover the bowl loosely and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Use a dough scraper or plastic spatula to fold the edges of the dough into the center, making about 4 folds and working your way around the bowl. Recover and set aside at room temperature for 18 to 24 hours (the dough will about double in size).

Again use a dough scraper or plastic spatula to fold the edges of the dough into the center about 4 times, working your way around the bowl. Recover and set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes.

If using, sprinkle the oats into the bottom of a well-floured proofing basket, then transfer the dough to the basket on top of the oats. Generously sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour, and then put the basket into a large plastic produce bag (like from the produce section at the supermarket) and loosely close the bag. (If you don’t have a proofing basket you can sprinkle the oats onto the center of a well-floured kitchen towel, then transfer the dough to the towel on top of the oats. Generously sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour, then loosely fold the towel up around the dough.) Set aside at room temperature for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a heavy, ovenproof, 4- to 5-quart stockpot in the oven, and a lid if it has one, and preheat the oven to 500°F.

Carefully take the heated pot out of the oven, place it on the stovetop or other heatproof work surface, and turn the dough from the proofing basket (or kitchen towel) into the pot so that the oats are now on top. Carefully cover with the heated lid or foil and return the pot to the oven. Reduce the temperature to 450°F and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove the lid and continue baking for 25 minutes. The bread should be cracked on top and nicely browned. Carefully remove the heated pot from the oven, then remove the bread from the pot. Set aside to cool to warm or room temperature before serving or slicing and storing.

NOTES It’s rare that I don’t recommend toasting the nuts in a recipe. But I typically slice and toast this bread, so the nuts imbedded in each slice ultimately do get the roasty, toasty flavor of toasted nuts. If you’ll be using the bread as is, toast the nuts before adding them to the recipe.

Look for flaxseed meal in the baking aisle, the natural foods section, or the bulk foods section of your supermarket. You can also buy it online or substitute an equal amount of wheat germ or whole wheat flour.

If you’re the type that has sourdough starter on hand, use 150 grams of that instead of the yeast, adding it to the bowl with the water. Your bread have a nicely sour tang.

This is what I mean by a proofing basket—you can find one on Amazon.com or at baking supply stores and sites. Besides being a vessel for your proofing bread, it’s also what makes the cool, floury stripes on your loaf. If you don’t have one, though, you can simply use a kitchen towel. See the recipe instructions for details.


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