Walnut Bread
Baked, Bread, Sides, Vegetarian

Walnut Bread (‘Walnussbrot’)

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Last Updated on 8 months by Tim

I do love walnuts. In ice cream, with apples, or in this gorgeous walnut bread. As with all good loaves of bread, you will need to be patient with this one. You will need to mix together a poolish the evening before you plan to bake.

The crumb of this bread is airy because of the hydration level of 75 %. The crunch of the walnuts gives it a nice textural contrast. It will take some practice to work with this dough in case you’re new to bread baking.

If you’re still a little inexperienced, just lower the hydration level to about 65 %, using a total of 325 g of water. You can also bake it in a bread tin if you have problems to shape the dough to hold its structure while baking.

Roast your walnuts the evening before

I highly recommend you to buy fresh walnuts for this dish and roast them yourself in the oven. Yes, I know this is a lot of work. Especially cracking them all open. But the results are well worth it. Pre-roasted walnuts from the supermarket are often rancid and don’t have a pleasant taste.

Roasted walnuts

It’s best to roast them the evening before you plan to bake while preparing your poolish. The poolish consists of 50 % whole wheat and 50 % water. You will only need to add a tiny amount of fresh yeast. The poolish will give your bread more flavor and keep it fresh for longer.

I know that especially American people might dislike it, that all my recipes call for fresh yeast. But I do think it is essential. In my personal experience, fresh yeast gives the bread a better flavor, texture, and rise.

How to assemble the dough for walnut bread

The final dough is very simple to assemble. Just combine all the ingredients except the walnuts and knead the dough until it is smooth and doesn’t stick as horribly. I recommend using a stand mixer with the dough hook attached for this task. However, it is no problem to do it by hand.

The walnuts should be incorporated into the dough after kneading. You don’t want to crush them into a kind of coarse flour. I like to have them in large chunks inside my walnut bread.

You need to let the dough rise until it has tripled in size. This strongly depends on the temperature in your kitchen but 2-3 hours is a rough estimate.

Risen dough for walnut bread

During this time, you will need to fold the dough to stabilize it. To fold the dough, grab it from underneath with your wetted hand. Stretch it and fold the dough over itself. Repeat this process 3-4 times and wait for half an hour before applying the second fold.

How to correctly proof your dough

After rising, deflate the dough and shape it into a round ball. Place in a proofing basket or round bowl that is lined with a kitchen towel and leave it to proof. This process can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes. Your dough is ready when it is just barely stable enough to hold its shape. It shouldn’t collapse when you put it onto your counter.

Proofed dough for walnut bread

As with my spelt bread, this walnut bread is baked in a Dutch oven. Bake it with the lid closed for 30 minutes before removing it. That way it will rise better and get airier.

Resist the temptation to cut into your bread before it has cooled down completely. You don’t want it to end up dry. It’s perfect with just a little butter on it and goes great with either sweet or savory toppings.

2 Comments

  1. what can you use ,if you can’t get fresh yeast and where do you get german flour 550 ?

    • Use 1/3 the amount of dried yeast and all-purpose or cake flour instead. That should work just fine. German Type 550 flour is nothing special. I wouldn’t bother sourcing it if you can’t. It’s just a white wheat flour with a moderate protein content.

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