I have an emotional attachment to making bread, any sort of bread that is. I particularly enjoy difficult breads that require tedious steps and many many hours of proofing and rising. Why I love the misery of doing such a thing? The world may never satisfy its needs in finding out, however perhaps it's my way of feeling accomplished. On a more serious note, do not let bread scare you! I often find that the recipe itself is not hard; the patience while waiting for the dough to rise not once but twice in some cases can make it laborious and time consuming. This recipe is not difficult if you leave your morning open and just enjoy the process of baking!
Brie and walnuts have always been a favourite combination of mine, they compliment each other wonderfully especially with fruit or honey. I chose to use Petit Bonhomme because it's made with double cream, making it higher in moisture and a creamier consistency.
Start by proofing your yeast with a bit of honey and warm water, mix gently and set aside (no that's not a latte). The recipe calls for 350ml of cool water, I left a little out and used warm water for the yeast as to not over hydrate the dough.
Once you've mixed your dry ingredients (minus the walnuts), slowly add cool water paying close attention to the consistency of the dough. Rye requires a lot of water unlike white flour. If your dough seems too sticky, meaning it's completely stuck up the sides of the mixing bowl and dough hook, you may need to add a bit more flour and keep kneading. Your dough should be a little on the sticky side but should hold its shape. When you have reached that state, after about 5-10 minutes of kneading, you can then add the chopped walnuts. I generally don't like using a stand mixer for the sole purpose that you cannot gauge the moisture or the feel of the dough if you're not kneading it yourself; it does however make the process easier if you choose to use one.
After letting the dough rise for 1-2 hours (or until the dough has doubled in size), turn over to a floured surface. Poke the dough with your fingers to deflate and then quarter into 4 equal sections.
Proceed by rolling out each individual section to about 8inx3in (just eyeball it) and roughly spread brie evenly across the dough.
Once you have filled each section of dough, roll them out like a pinwheel. Keep rolling out until you have stretched the dough to about 10-12 inches long.
In a lightly greased spring form cake tin, carefully place each coil so they are sitting symmetrically. Cover with a thin tea towel and let rise for another hour. After it is done rising, brush the top of the bread with an egg wash, bake for 45-50 minutes at 400F.
Leave the bread in the tin for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven, then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool (good luck with that).
Double Cream Brie and Walnut Loaf
Adapted from Paul Hollywood, The Great British Baking Show
When it comes to anything involving flour or liquid (everything), I like to measure by weight. It is more accurate and makes a world of difference when baking bread. I'm begging you, please allow a digital scale to be among your closest of friends, it will not let you down. The original recipe calls for blue cheese; Roquefort to be specific. I do not eat blue cheese, matter of fact I refuse to punish my tastebuds in such a way... but hey if that's your cup of tea
450g strong white bread flour, a little extra if your dough is too wet and for dusting
50g rye flour
10g flaked sea salt (Maldon)
8g dry active yeast
50ml warm water
300ml cool water
200g chopped walnuts
200g double cream Brie, cut into smaller pieces
1 egg, beaten
1. In a small bowl or cup, combine warm water, honey and yeast. Gently stir and put aside to proof. In the meantime, combine both flours and salt together. Once yeast develops a foam and has doubled in size, slowly add to the flour mixture on a low mixing speed. Continue by slowly adding cool water until dough ball has formed. The dough should be a bit sticky but also hold its shape. If your dough is too wet, add more strong white bread flour. Allow dough to knead for 5-10 minutes.
2. After the dough has been kneaded for the given length of time, add walnuts and knead for a few more minutes. Oil a large bowl and place dough in the center, covering loosely with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise for 1-2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
3. Once the dough has doubled in size, place on a lightly floured surface. Deflate the dough by pushing your fingers through the center and fold the dough into itself to create a perfect ball. Lastly, cut the dough into four equal sections.
4. Roll out each quartered section to about 8inches by roughly 3-4inches. Measure out 50g of Brie, cut into cubes and spread evening on the surface of the dough. Keep in mind, Brie has an outer layer that you need to cut off before using. Continue by rolling the dough to make a long snake-like roll and then coil the dough around itself. Repeat this with all sections.
5. In a greased spring form cake tin, gently place each coil so that they evenly sit against each other. Leave to rise another hour.
6. Preheat your oven to 400F. In the meantime, brush the top of the bread with egg wash (beaten egg) and bake for 45-50 minutes. Depending on the oven, you may need to loosely cover the crust of the bread to avoid getting too dark.
7. After baking, allow bread to sit in the tin for a few minutes. Afterwards, move to a wire rack and let it cool. I usually never make it to this step; everything is almost always better when it has the capability to burn your tongue, or so they say. Enjoy with a healthy portion of honey and why not... some tea wouldn't hurt.