Date, Apple and Walnut Bread

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This recipe makes two loaves : )

I have to admit, I lived off this for a whole weekend. I literally had it for breakfast, lunch and snacks. Dinner usually comprised of some sort of meat.. but then I would be straight back on this bread for dessert! It’s not really okay to eat that much bread, but my gosh.. this is so delicious. It’s hard not to keep eating it! Perfect balance of sweetness from the dates and crunch from the walnuts – the apple gives a nice subtle flavour to its light and fluffy texture. Toasted or fresh, with butter or blue cheese, this bread is beautiful!

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– INGREDIENTS – 

1 1/4 cup warm water

1/3 cup caster sugar

2 x 7g sachets dried yeast

2 green apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped

1/4 cup water

4 cups plain flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup dates, chopped

1 cup walnuts, chopped, plus extra for topping

1 egg, beaten

80g melted butter

Extra egg for glazing

1 tablespoon of sugar

– METHOD – 

1. In a small bowl, combine milk and 2 tablespoons of the sugar until sugar has dissolved. Sprinkle yeast over the top and stir until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to stand for 15 minutes or until foamy.

2. Put the apple, water and remaining sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until combined and simmer for 4 minutes or until the apple is soft, but not broken down. Remove from the heat. Strain the apple but keep the syrup. Return the syrup to the saucepan and simmer until it thickens slightly. Set aside to cool.

3. Sift the flour and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in the dates and walnuts. Add the yeast mixture, apple, egg and melted butter and stir until combined and mixture forms a dough.

4. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Put dough in a lightly greased bowl (can use the same bowl used for mixing, just grease it) and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rest in a warm place for about 40 minutes or until doubled in size.

5. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Grease two 23cm x 11cm loaf tins. I only had one, so my second loaf was really rustic and a freeform kind of loaf. Punch down the dough and knead until smooth. Cut in half, and then cut each portion into three 3 even pieces.

6. Knead and roll each piece into a 30cm sausage, about 4 cm thick. Pinch the ends of the 3 sausages together and tuck under. Plait the dough until ends meet, then pinch together and tuck under. Put into a loaf tin. Repeat with remaining dough. Or simply do what I did, and shape it into a round or oval shape and place it on a greased tray.  Cover with a damp tea towel and rest in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

7. Brush loaves with combined egg and sugar. Sprinkle with more chopped walnuts. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and brush with reserved apple syrup. Allow to cool before serving. Store in a airtight plastic bag or container for longer keeping.

Enjoy! And try not to eat it all in one weekend.

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