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Jane Grigson’s Walnut Bread from Southern Burgundy

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

Almost a half century ago, Jane Grigson, a writer well-known for her books about food (especially English food), published a little piece about walnuts. In the article, Mrs. Grigson described a number of good ways to cook the nut, and Walnut Bread from Southern Burgundy is one of them.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Milk
  • 5 teaspoons Instant Dry Yeast
  • 5 cups Unbleached White Flour, Plus A Bit To Sprinkle On The Pastry Board When Forming The Loaves
  • 2 Tablespoons Granulated White Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 8 Tablespoons Butter, Melted And Cooled, Plus A Bit For Greasing Your Surfaces
  • ¾ cups Yellow Onion, Finely Chopped
  • ½ cups Walnuts, Chopped

Preparation

A note about servings: The recipe makes 4 small round loaves, each about 7-inches in diameter. The number of servings (32) refers to the number of slices that may be cut from 4 loaves, approximately 8 per loaf.

You will also need:

1. A bowl for proofing the yeast.
2. A liquid measuring cup with at least a 2-cup capacity.
3. A small pot for heating the milk.
4. A sifter.
5. A large mixing bowl or an electric mixer and mixing bowl with a paddle attachment. The photographed bread was kneaded by hand in a large mixing bowl. It could be kneaded by hand on a pastry board if you prefer that method.
6. 2 baking sheets.
7. Parchment paper to line the baking sheets.
8. A pastry board.
9. Cooling racks.

For the bread:

1. Heat the 2 cups of milk in the pot to lukewarm. Pour the milk into a liquid measuring cup. Pour 1/2 cup of the warm milk into a bowl and sprinkle the yeast into it. Set the milk and yeast mixture aside until it becomes foamy. The remainder of the milk in the measuring cup will be used to make the dough.)
2. Into the mixing bowl sift the flour, sugar and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture, the remaining 1 and 1/2 cups of warm milk and the melted and cooled butter.
3. Stir the mixture until everything begins to combine and form a dough. Then knead the dough by hand in the bowl. Alternatively, the dough may be kneaded on a pastry board or in an electric mixer using a paddle attachment. The dough is ready when it leaves the sides of the bowl and forms a smooth ball. A photograph of the finished dough is on the related link.
4. Let the dough rise, covered, in a clean, dry bowl for about 2 hours—preferably in a warm place. It should just about double in size when ready.
5. Streak the two baking sheets with butter so that the parchment paper will not move about, then place sheets of parchment paper on them.
6. Punch the dough down. Add the chopped onion and walnuts to the bowl of dough and knead them in by hand.
7. Sprinkle the pastry board with a little flour. The onions will make the dough a bit sticky. Turn the dough out onto the board. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and shape each piece into a round loaf.
8. Place two rounds on each baking sheet and let them rise for 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 F towards the end of the rise time.
9. Bake them at 400 F for 45 minutes. Cool the loaves on wire racks. (The crust will soften as the bread cools.) Wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in plastic bags, the bread will stay moist and fresh for several days.

An acknowledgement: This recipe is adapted from one in Mrs. Jane Grigson’s article ‘Walnuts’ which appeared in the October 1971 issue of “Gourmet” magazine.

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