Walnut and Raisin Bread

I think one of God's greatest gifts to man is good cheese, and it deserves good bread to go with it. This chunky, slightly sweet bread goes extremely well with a sharp, vigorous Cheddar, fresh goats' cheese or Cashel Blue. It also freezes very well.

Makes a 1 lb (450 g) loaf

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Christmas

Walnut and Raisin Bread
 4 oz (110 g) walnut pieces
 2 oz (50 g) muscatel or lexia raisins
 5 oz (150 g) strong wholewheat flour
 5 oz (150 g) plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
 1 slightly rounded teaspoon salt
 1 slightly rounded teaspoon easy-blend dried yeast
 1 level teaspoon brown sugar
 1 teaspoon walnut oil
 2 oz (50 g) sultanas
You will also need a solid 12 x 10 in (30 x 25.5 cm) baking sheet, lightly greased.


Begin by combining the flours, salt and yeast together in a mixing bowl. Next measure 7 fl oz (200 ml) hand-hot water in a measuring jug and whisk in the sugar and the walnut oil. Next, tip the liquid into the flour. Mix to form a dough, adding a further tablespoon or two of water if it appears too dry: it should have the sort of consistency that leaves the side of the bowl clean and yet not be so soft that it clings to your hands and sticks to the work surface.

Now turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes – try to avoid using any additional flour because, as you knead, the dough will become less sticky and more bouncy. Press the dough out into a rough 12 inch (30 cm) square, and sprinkle the dried fruit and nuts over the surface. Roll up the dough, Swiss-roll style, then knead briefly again to distribute the fruit and nuts evenly. Now pat it out into an oblong or round and transfer the dough to the baking sheet. Now cover the loaf with a piece of oiled clingfilm then leave this in a warm place for about 1¼ hours or until the dough has almost doubled in size. 

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C).

Remove the clingfilm from risen loaf and transfer it to the centre of the oven to bake for 35 minutes. Turn the loaf on to an oven-gloved hand and tap the base. The loaf should sound hollow – if it doesn't put it back in the oven for 5 more minutes, upside down. 

Cool on a wire rack.

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