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Bread Challenge, Week 9: Classic Walnut Boule

March 7, 2012
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First, let me be the first to express my own amazement that I’m actually still doing this project. Ten weeks of 2012, and I’ve made bread (or cake) for nine of them. Only missed one week because I didn’t have an oven! Pretty good, for me.

And this week’s bread was pretty good, too. A simple, one loaf recipe. Full of toasty, nutty, bittery (bittery?) walnuts.  Round! Rustic! Really Easy!

Note: I’m getting sick of eating bread. Is that bad? I have to start bringing it all in to work.

Sneak Peek at Next week: just in time for St. Patrick’s Day…world-famous Barney Family Irish Soda Bread!

As always, my comments and adjustments are in blue.


Classic Walnut Boule (you can find a printable version here)


  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
  • 1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted walnut oil (the stuff I bought didn’t say “toasted” on the label – not sure if that made a big difference)
  • 10 7/10 ounces bread flour, divided (about ¼ cups)
  • 4 ¾ ounces whole wheat flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • Cooking spray
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon fat-free milk
  • 1 large egg white


Dissolve sugar and yeast in 1 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in oil. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 9.5 ounces (about 2 cups) bread flour, whole wheat flour, and salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes); add enough of remaining bread flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky). I did not knead this dough by hand; I used my trusty KitchenAid mixer, for the same amount of time

Shaggy dough...just as it should be.

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, for 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; knead in walnuts.

Kneading in the walnuts

Shape dough into a 9-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Place dough on a large baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Uncover dough. Combine milk and egg white; brush over dough. Score dough by making two diagonal slits with a sharp knife; make two diagonal slits in the opposite direction to create a crosshatch pattern. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bread is browned on bottom and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

Finished! Beautiful.


  • A very simple, straightforward bread. Follow the instructions and you can’t go wrong.
  • A nutty, ever-so-slightly sweet taste. The sweetness does not overpower the bread, though; it’s perfect as a dinner accompaniment. It would probably also make some kick-ass French toast.
  • Soooo goooood with just a schmear of butter…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2012 11:16 am

    This looks amazing. We have a great bakery in Chatham and they have a pecan cranberry loaf that’s to die for with the best crackly top. I can seriously eat the whole thing.

  2. March 8, 2012 11:20 am

    It’s been a Herculean effort on my part to not eat the whole loaf all by myself. I still think I might lose the battle.

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