OLP and I were trying to decide whether pedis or wine would be more relaxing after work, when I realized that what would be most relaxing was kneading bread dough. Because when I knead dough, I am just kneading dough. I can't worry about things because I'm making sure that the dough is the right consistency, and I'm getting happy when it turns from a ragged ball of dough into a smooth lovely shape as I take care not to add too much flour, but also not to leave it too sticky. It is the only chore, besides sewing, which I find meditative. I think I was meant to be a farm housewife.
Today's, or rather tonight's, loaf was the Italian Whole Wheat Walnut Raisin Bread from Bread for All Seasons. This was not the everyday, workhorse bread from last weekend. No, this is a lovely sweet and rich loaf. The batch has a 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of honey, 3 cups of walnuts, 2 cups of raisins and 4 cups whole wheat flour and about 2 cups of white flour. I weighed the dough because it was so heavy - it weighed over 4 pounds.
After the dough rose, it was laid out and then half of the walnuts and raisins were pressed into it.
Then I rolled it up, flattened it again, and pressed the rest of the nuts and raisins in (so there is a layer of walnuts and raisins inside that dough, as well as on top of it):
Then I rolled the dough up again, and formed 2 loaves. Most of the nuts and raisins are on the inside, which I think keeps them from burning. Then the loaves sit to rise again.
Here they are after rising, which some parchment paper to keep them separated. I ground a little flax seed on top for decoration.
And here they are out of the oven. They are gigantic. I don't remember them being that large last time I made them (which was 10 years ago, so I might have forgotten.) I had 2 slices with some grass-fed butter that I'd found at Whole Foods and it was perfect. I will be bringing one of the loaves to the Boy tomorrow, after making sure he has a dog-proof place to store it since I will not be very happy if the dog eats this bread!
If you like making bread, this is a very satisfying loaf to bake, and makes wonderful toast! And because it is so rich, just a little bit is perfect.
I'm going to the farmstand tomorrow to see if they have kale yet. Let's hope so!