Makes: 2 loaves
This hardy but light loaf can be eaten lightly toasted or in its original doughy form. It is made for humid weather – it keeps well and if it hardens because of the loss in moisture, cut it into strips and toast it for crunchy bread dippers. Don’t be put off by the long recipe – it’s easy once you get the hang of it.
Preparation time: 1 ½ hours
Baking time: 35 minutes
250g bread flour
125g rye flour [if unavailable, use bread flour]
125g wholemeal flour
2 tsps fine sea salt
50g walnuts, roughly chopped
50g seed, preferably a combination of sunflower and melon seeds
150g dried cranberries, apricots and raisins
2 tsps instant dried yeast
2 tsps sugar
1. Sprinkle the yeast into 100ml of the water and mix with 2 teaspoons of sugar. Stir and leave for 5 minutes.
2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flours and the salt together.
3. When the yeast mixture turns frothy, make a well in a center of the flour bowl, and pour in the yeast mixture.
4. Using a spatula, draw enough of the flour into the yeast mixture to form a thick paste.
5. Cover the bowl with a tea towel, then leave to ‘sponge’ until frothy and risen. This will take about 20 minutes.
6. Pour in half of the remaining water into the well and mix in the flour. Then stir in as much of the the rest of the water as needed to form a firm, moist dough. The dough should be on the firm side.
7. Turn the firm dough out onto a work surface. Knead, using the base of your palms, until smooth and elastic. This should take approximately 10 minutes. Alternatively, beat using an electric beater fitted with a dough hook, adding water gradually into the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. This takes approximately 15 minutes.
8. At the end of the kneading process, add the walnuts, seeds and dried fruit.
9. Put the dough in a clean bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise until doubled in size – about 45 minutes.
10. Take the dough out of the bowl, punch the air out of the dough and divide it into 2 loaves.
11. Shape the dough into a long loaf, about 25cm in length. Place the shaped dough on a baking sheet and cover with the damp tea towel.
12. Preheat the oven to 190 degree Celsius.
13. Proof – or let the loaves rest and rise – until doubled in size. This takes about 30 minutes.
14. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the loaf is hollow-sounding when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack.
With more than 10 years experience in the food industry, Debbie is a true-bred Nyonya who hails from Malacca. She is the author of numerous cookbooks, including “UNDERWRAPS” by Marshall Cavendish Cuisine and “Penang Food Guide & Cookbook” and “Nyonya Flavours” by Star Publications. Debbie develops and tests recipes for companies, and contributes to magazines. She is also a Nyonya food consultant for Tourism Malaysia.
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