My first ever memory of a truly amazing loaf of bread is of a hazelnut and raisin loaf from Clarke’s. I was living around the corner from Sally Clarke’s restaurant and food shop at the time and loved to make a habit of enjoying one of the best cappuccinos in town (long before the rise of the decent coffee bar) and buying a good loaf of bread.
I also applied for a job there, went for an interview with Sally herself, who told me to come back and apply again once I had some experience under my belt. I was still studying professional cookery at Westminster college and had no practical kitchen experience at that point. Why didn’t I go back and try again? If only I could answer that question.
Sally Clarke was and still is a kitchen heroine of mine. Her no choice set restaurant menu using the best of what the seasons have to offer, her influences from working at Chez Panisse, her attention to detail, high standards and strong work ethic brought her success and recognition at a time when there were far fewer female chefs than there are today. She was a huge inspiration to me so I thought I would make a loaf of bread which reminds me of my first visit to Sally’s shop of wonders.
This loaf will be my entry into One Ingredient (Walnuts) hosted by me and Franglais Kitchen on alternate months.
- 500g strong white bread flour,
- 2tsp dried yeast,
- 1&1/2tsp salt,
- 250ml tepid water,
- 50ml tepid milk,
- 4tbsp olive oil,
- 1tbsp fresh rosemary finely chopped,
- 125g chopped walnuts,
- 125g mixed dried fruits ( I used a mixture of dried cherries, blueberries, cranberries, golden sultanas and jumbo raisins)
- 1. Put the bread flour, yeast, salt into the bowl of your kitchen food mixer with a dough hook attached,
- 2. Measure out the water and milk and warm in the microwave until tepid (this takes around 30 seconds), then add in the olive oil,
- 3. Put the food mixer on and slowly add in the liquid to the flour mixture and knead for a couple of minutes until the mixture has come together (add a touch more water if necessary),
- 4. Add in the rosemary, walnuts and dried fruits and continue to knead for a further 8 minutes. If doing this by hand just knead the mixture for 10 minutes on a floured work surface,
- 5. Let the dough prove in a bowl for 2 hours covered with a tea towel,
- 6. After 2 hours, take out the dough and divide it into 2 pieces and shape them into round loaves. Place the loaves onto 2 baking trays lined with baking parchment, cover with 2 tea towels and let them prove for a further hour,
- 7. Once the loaves are proved and have doubled in size, cut a cross in the loaves with a very sharp knife and bake in the pre-heated oven (200 degrees) for 30 minutes (approx),
- 8. The loaves are cooked when you tap the bottom of the loaf and it sounds hollow inside,
- 9. Leave the loaves to cool on a wire rack.
- This bread is good served with blue cheese, Brie with fig chutney, or goat's cheese. It is also a great breakfast loaf served with honey and apricot or peach jam.