Walnut & Raisin Bread
You really can’t beat the smell or taste of homemade bread, it’s the ultimate comfort food and preparing it is wonderfully satisfying. This loaf is delicious for breakfast and makes a lovely sandwich filled with creamy blue cheese and rocket. I find that it also toasts very well after a day or two.
step one: Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the yeast, walnuts and raisins until evenly combined.
step two: Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and then pour in 350ml (12fl oz) of tepid water. Quickly mix to a smooth dough, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
step three: Divide the dough in half and then shape each piece into a roll. Put on non-stick baking sheets and cover each one with a damp tea towel. Leave to rise again in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
step four: Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/ gas 7. Remove the damp tea towel from the loaves and slash the tops with a sharp knife. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 190°C/375°F/gas 5 and bake for another 25–30 minutes until the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
step five: Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. To serve, place on a bread board and cut into slices at the table. Hand around with a separate pot of butter for spreading.
- 550g (1 1/4lb) strong plain white flour, plus extra for dusting
- 50g (2oz) butter, plus extra for spreading
- 1 x 7g (1/4oz) sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 100g (4oz) walnuts, roughly chopped
- 50g (2oz) raisins
- 1 teaspoon salt
- sunflower oil, for greasing