Walnut Stout Bread is a hearty and rustic delight. We love it nearly as much as we love our dog Walnut. Much like his namesake, Walnut is also hearty and rustic (see the photo below for an action photo of him at his rustic best). (Rustic must be the watchword of the day.)
This recipe, from Pacific Northwest the Beautiful, makes two loaves. Perfect for a Sunday dinner with friends, and still leave enough leftovers to take to work for snacks for the week.
In a large bowl, stir together 1/2 cup warm water, 1 package dried yeast, 2 T sugar, and let stand until foamy – 10 minutes-ish. Then stir in 2 cups stout (room temperature), 2 T olive oil, 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp ground aniseed and 1 T salt.
In another bowl, sift together 3 cups all-purpose plain flour (or bread flour) and 3 cups medium rye flour. Slowly add the flour mix to the yeast mix, stirring as you go. When most of the flour is added, stir in 1 cup (or a little more if you’re zealous about walnuts) into the dough.
Turn the dough out onto a counter lightly dusted with flour, and knead until the bread is smooth and elastic – about 15 minutes.
Put the dough in a lightly olive-oiled bowl, turn the dough to coat the whole ball with oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Leave it to sit in a warm place to rise until doubled – about 1 1/2 hours.
While the bread’s rising, here’s a photo of Walnut to enjoy. He’s out at the FoodShed auxiliary (the cabin), enjoying a hearty tromp through the undergrowth with his sister, Francis Pickle. (She supervises our yearly pickle-making.)
After the dough rises, punch it down, turn it out onto the counter, and shape it into 2 round pieces. Preheat the oven to 375. Put the loaves on a cookie sheeted dusted with cornmeal and let them rise until they double again – 45 minutes to an hour.
After they have risen, slash the tops with three decorative slices and if you’d like, brush with an egg-water mix. (I always forget to do this. It seems more like a challah thing to me.) Bake until the crusts are firm and the loaves sound hollow when tapped – 35 to 40 minutes.
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 package active dried yeast
- 2 T sugar
- 2 cups stout
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp ground aniseed (we used 3 tsp)
- 1 T salt
- 3 cups plain bread flour
- 3 cups rye flour
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (we used probably 2 cups)
- cornmeal for dusting
- 1 egg beaten with 1 T water (for the egg wash, if you’d like)