On a mission to find good cheese we walked over the Marshes to Stoke Newington, and picked up a lovely blue cheese from the Growing Communities Farmers Market. On our return we called in at the Spar in the village as they have a wide range. Armed with a strong flavoured blue and an ash-covered goats cheese we needed something sweet, strong and hearty bread-wise.
So after a bit of cupboard searching we came up with this date & walnut bread. It looks like a long list of ingredients but it really is a simple recipe. However the high proportion of rye flour means that it rises slowly – we started this process in the evening, left the dough to rise overnight and baked the bread next morning.
200ml warm water
200g strong white flour
200g dark rye flour
2 tbsp oil (pumpkin, walnut, or olive)
2 tbsp black treacle or molasses
1 tsp salt
2 level tsp instant yeast (we like Bruggeman, available from Maghreb)
100g golden raisins
5-6 dates, chopped
10 walnuts, chopped
1-2 tsp caraway seeds
Measure out the warm water into a jug, check it’s hand hot. Add the yeast and caraway seeds and leave for a few minutes to activate and bubble up.
Meanwhile put all the other ingredients into a large bowl. Add the yeast and water mixture and stir to combine. It will slowly form into a sticky dark ball of dough.
Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth.
Put the dough ball back in the bowl and cover. Leave it now in a warm place (kitchen, airing cupboard, sauna!) for a few hours, or even overnight until it has slowly risen and doubled in size.
When the dough has risen and you’re ready to bake, heat to the oven to 200C/ 400F/ Gas Mark 6.
After rising, take the dough from the bowl and flatten or roll out to a 2 cm thick circle. Cut into triangle wedges and place on an oiled baking tray. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until they have risen and sound hollow when tapped underneath.
Serve warm with stinky cheese and a fruity chutney!