Tuesday 2 February 2010

First recipe!

OK, so here it is, as requested by my numerous readers (two, to be precise!): my recipe for Walnut maple syrup rolls.
A bit of background first.
We LOVE bread.
Just love it.
Around two years ago we bought a bread machine and have used it a lot to make the wholemeal bread with various seeds and nuts that we love.
However, our bread machine makes bread with the same texture, all the time. No matter what ingredients we use it's kind of the same.
It's great but we do love open-textured sourdough and nutty chewy breads and the machine just isn't up to the job.
We probably should get a different machine but it seems a lot of expense when our one is fine for what it does.
So, in comes the machine-mixed and kneaded but hand-shaped bread that I tend to make now.
The dough for these rolls is made in the machine but I have made it by hand and it's just lovely.
You will need:
1tsp (purists look away here) fast acting yeast
350g strong wholemeal flour
100g strong white flour
50g medium oatmeal
2tbsp maple syrup or Agave nectar
2 tbsp oil
1.5 tsp salt
320ml lukewarm water
100g walnut pieces, roughly chopped
In the bread machine use a "wholemeal dough" setting, ideally the longest one you can as this gives the bread time to develop a good flavour.
The hand method would be done by putting all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mixing gently. Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl or jug and pour over the dry ingredients. Mix well and use your hands to knead for at least five full minutes. The walnut pieces will make this a little tricky but you will know when the dough is ready to have a little nap and "rest" when the dough becomes much softer and more pliable in your hands. It's a great feeling. A kind of alchemy and one of the reasons I love cooking so much. Good food is so much more than the sum of its ingredients.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a wet tea towel. Let it rest for an hour or so until it has almost doubled in size. It needs to be in a warm place and will take longer to rise if it's cold.
Once it is ready for the next stage you need to do what in the UK is called "punching it down". Using your fist you give the puffy dough a good few punches to knock the air out of it. Picture whoever you like for this. It's cheaper than therapy.
Then give it another quick knead and form the dough into a rough round loaf shape. You can make the rolls any shape you like and I am incredibly quick at making my rolls as I have tried many times to make perfect sized little round rolls and failed every time. I now don't care what shape they are. So what I now do is cut the round shaped dough into chunky strips and then cut these strips into kind of triangular or diamond shapes (see photo, which helps, I hope).
Place the rolls onto a baking sheet and leave them covered with a tea towel again to rise for another thirty minutes or more if they are slow to rise.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7 for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
Serve warm with butter (oh, yeah!).
Or with a strong cheddar and pickle.
Or Stilton and fresh pear slices.
Or Brie and apple slices.
Or goats' cheese and blackcurrant jam.
Oh, and with a smug "look what I just knocked up" smile.
I may have opened a flood gate here as I have lots of recipes flying around my head, many of them family recipes and low in sugar as I tend not to use much and never have, even before Frank's diagnosis.
Watch this space!


  1. I haven't made bread in a zillion years, and I don't own a bread machine, but I'm going to try this. If it works I'll send you a photo!

  2. Oooh, do post a photo if you do make the bread. It's the best season for bread making as we all tend to be stuck indoors more. Good luck with it.