Sunday, July 25, 2010

Buttermilk Bread with Walnuts

Baking your own bread just is such a wonderful thing... You should see my happy face when I make bread dough... I looove the smell of fresh yeast and the feel in my hands when I knead the dough... And the smell that comes out of the oven when there's bread in it...

I made this bread some time ago for my brunch with the ladies. Very often, when I bake bread, I make two loafs in order to freeze one of them. This weekend, I remembered that I still have this one in the freezer and I decided to eat some of it for breakfast. I like this bread very much. Its structure is kind of dense. Due to the buttermilk, it's rather moist and it's got an aromatic taste. I ate it with butter and Gruyère cheese this morning. Yum!


500g "Ruchmehl" (See comment below.)
250g whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
20g fresh yeast
1dl milk, lukewarm
3dl buttermilk
100g walnuts

(I'm not sure what the appropriate English translation of "Ruchmehl" is... According to my online "research" I guess you could substitute it with wheat flour type 1050. You could probably also use 750g of whole wheat flour and leave the "Ruchmehl" out.)

In a big bowl, mix flour and salt. Form a hollow in the middle, add the sugar. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm milk and pour that into the hollow. Add buttermilk. Slowly mix the flour with the liquid ingredients (if necessary, add a little milk).

Spread a little flour on a clean surface area and knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic (it will be rather firm though, but that's ok). Chop walnuts and knead into the dough. Form a ball, put back into your bowl, cover with a wet kitchen towel and let rise for about 2 hours (put the bowl somewhere, where it is rather warm).

After the dough has risen, knead again shortly and divide into two halves. Form two balls and put onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cut in the dough crosswise (1cm deep). Again, let rise for about 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Bake the breads in the middle of the oven for about 10 minutes. To have a good humidity in the oven, put a little ofen-safe cup of water next to the breads. Reduce heat to 200°C. Bake breads for another 40 minutes.

Check whether the bread is baked thoroughly by knocking on the bottom of the loafs. It should sound hollow*.

(If you plan to freeze one of the loafs, take it out of the oven about 10 minutes earlier than the other one. Let cool a little. Then pack into a plastic bag and let cool completely. Then put in the freezer.)

*Honestly, although I love baking bread, I haven't actually done it sooo many times and I am not as experienced as I'd like to be. What always freaks me out is checking whether it's baked thoroughly at the end. How exactly is this "hollow noise" supposed to sound?! I just guess, I interpret it right but I am never entirely sure. I think, baking good bread is something that needs a lot of experience.

I hope, I can present you more bread recipes in the future because I really want to advance my bread-baking skills :-)

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