We’re now half way through Real Bread Week (20th – 28th February), and it’s been great to see the nation busy swapping out supermarket loaves for their own homemade creations. Lockdowns have certainly encouraged many to don their aprons and get kneading to create bread-like masterpieces at home, and the trend for home-baking is not slowing.
For something a little different to the usual sourdough, STAUB’s walnut bread with figs recipe below is the perfect showcase of how nuts and fruits can add subtle layers of flavour to a homemade loaf. Plus – the starter only needs one night to rest before it’s ready to use, meaning there’s no need to wait too long to enjoy homemade bread with a weekend cheese board. STAUB’s infamous cocotte is the ideal cookware for the job, as its cast iron construction ensures the bread is cooked evenly throughout.
For the starter dough
240g wheat flour
For the main dough
350g wheat flour
200g wheat wholemeal flour
330ml lukewarm water
75g walnuts roughly chopped
75g dried figs, quartered
In addition: butter for the cocotte, flour for handling
1. Mix all the ingredients for the starter dough, cover and let it rest over night at room temperature.
2. The next day, mix all the ingredients for the main dough and knead them together with the starter dough in a food processor, until the dough is very soft and comes loose from the edge of the bowl. Cover this dough with cling film and leave for three hours. Every hour pull and fold – take hold of the dough from the rear end, stretch it upwards then fold it towards the body onto the rest of the dough. Then, work on the opposite side and then the other sides in the same way.
3. Divide the dough into two portions and on a heavily floured work surface, lightly shape into round dough pieces without pressing the air out of the dough in the process. Turn them over and place the heavily floured side into the cocotte, cover and leave for a further hour.
4. In the meantime, pre-heat the oven to 250°C. Pre-warm the lid of the cocotte for about 10 minutes in the hot oven, then place it on the cocotte. Bake the bread inside on the middle rack for around 60 minutes or until it is golden brown.