A good, if esoteric combo that goes beautifully with a handful of grapes and the after dinner chitchat. Makes two 500g loaves.
- 150g strong wholemeal flour
- 350g strong white flour
- 350ml water (or milk or ale – your choice)
- 100g Stilton cheese, crumbled
- 100g walnuts, chopped
- 10g fast action yeast
- Half teaspoon fine salt
Leaving aside the nuts and cheese, mix the ingredients together to form a non sticky dough. Cover and leave for an hour. Meanwhile chop the walnuts, crumble the stilton and marvel at all the mess you’re making.
After resting dough tip it out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for the usual ten minutes until smooth and supple. Flatten dough in an oval shape and pile on the walnuts and stilton. Use a rolling pin to push them into the dough…
Now gather up the dough and knead lightly to incorporate everything. More than likely the fillings will break through as you knead. Keep calm and carry on: it will come together…
Decision time: you either divide the dough now or leave the whole to proof until doubled and then divide. Me? I divide the dough now, making two 500g balls. Stretch and shape to make two smooth, firm boules. If you prefer use two small loaf tins instead.
Transfer the dough to a floured baking tray, cover and leave to rise one last time (I’ve found that this stage can take more than two hours, hence the double dose of yeast. Could it be the acidity of the cheese slowing the fermentation?)
Preheat your oven to 230°c then wait a further thirty minutes to ensure the raging inferno this bread demands. Slash the dough if you like and/or spritz with water for a crisp crust. Bake the loaves for about 15 minutes then turn the heat way down to 180°c and bake for another 20 minutes. Relax and consider the delicious treat you are about to unleash on unsuspecting palates!
Don’t slice this bread unless you intend toasting it. Better to tear off chunks and eat with the aire of someone who understands the finer things in life. This very well flavoured loaf is at its best when toasted, perhaps as the foundation for a BLT sandwich. Am I nuts?
See you next time on BBBB.