Thursday, 28 January 2016

Coffee & Walnut Bread [Coffee: 100 Everyday Recipes]

I want to preface this recipe from the coffee cookbook with the warning that I have genuinely never baked bread from scratch before. However, since the whole point of this blog is that these recipes should work out, I'm putting my trust in the cookbook. As a precaution, I made sure to crank the heat in my place, since I normally like to keep it cool and I know that's not great for yeast.

Cookbook Recipe:


  • vegetable oil, for greasing
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 2/3 cups white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped coarsely
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey

Following the cookbook recipe exactly:

1. Grease a baking sheet. In one bowl, mix the flour, salt, yeast, and walnuts, making a well in the centre. In another bowl, mix the water, coffee, olive oil, and honey. Pour the liquid into the flour and mix with a knife until soft and sticky. (Not sure why the recipe specifies a knife to mix it with, but I went with a butterknife.)

2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes. (As seen later, this is the crux of the problem with this recipe.) Put the dough in a bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap, and place in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.

After the second rising. I mean, it kinda worked!

3. Turn the dough out again onto a floured surface, and knead for 1 minute. Shape into an 8-inch long oval and place on the baking sheet. Dust with flour and slash a curve off-centre along the loaf. Let rest (they don't specify covered or uncovered) for 40-50 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400F.

That is definitely bread!

4. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown and "the bottom sounds hollow when tapped with your knuckles". Cool on a wire rack.

The Outcome:

Hey, I made bread! However, this bread is way too dense. I googled around to see if it was something I had done, but it turns out that the problem is the recipe - 5-7 minutes is half the time bread really should be kneaded (though there's plenty of conflicting arguments). It still tastes pretty delicious, though I don't think the coffee adds much except a bit of colouring.  I do want to try this again and knead it longer to see if that will make it into a lighter, fluffier loaf. But hey, it's distinctly and clearly bread, and I made from scratch!

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