This is the bread recipe that I always go back to.
The bread has a soft, chewy texture with a good crust, and I always get loads of compliments when I make it.
Basically whenever I’m baking for a new group of friends I ALWAYS make this, because I know it will work.
Making a four-strand plait is visually impressive as well.
Using rye flour gives a subtle nuttiness, and also makes the texture of the bread softer. (Yeah my cheap baking dish is warping in the heat. Student life.)
I got this recipe from Paul Hollywood, and it is the same base dough recipe I used for my roasted garlic bread. I just changed the way I shaped my bread. I learnt how to do the 4-strand plait from this video, which also shows you how to plait 3-9 strand loaves.
- 450g strong white bread flour
- 50g rye flour
- 10g salt
- 8g fast-action dried yeast
- 200g walnuts, chopped
- 200g blue cheese, crumbled
- 1 egg (for egg wash)
- 1.5 cups of water
- Olive oil (really little)
- Dried rosemary and black pepper (optional)
- Add both flours into a large bowl and mix. Then, add the yeast to one side of the bowl, and salt to the other.
- Add 1 cup of water to the bowl and mix.
- Add up to 1/2 cup more water, a little at a time. Add just enough for the dough to come together to form a soft dough.
- Knead for about 10-15 mins until the dough is smooth.
- Mix in the chopped walnuts.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn the dough such that the top of the dough is oiled as well. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Knock down the dough (just punch it to release the air) and divide the dough into four.
- Roll out each division into a rectangular shape (as long as you want your loaf to be, maybe about 15x8cm).
- Sprinkle some blue cheese on the long end of the rectangular shape, then roll it up like a Swiss roll. Add some dried rosemary and black pepper if you like (I always do this I just love the flavour of those in bread).
- Repeat for all four divisions, then braid the four rolls.
- After shaping, let rise for another hour, or until doubled in size.
- Beat the egg, and then brush the top of the bread with the beaten egg. Sprinkle some more dried rosemary and black pepper over the top to make it look pretty if you want.
- Bake for 220°C/200°C fan for 45-50 mins.
- Let it cool on the baking dish for 10 mins, before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
- Rye flour uses up more water, so you will probably end up using most of the 1/2 cup more water, but it really depends on the flour you buy.
- I’ve used both Roquefort and Stilton cheese in this recipe and both tasted fine.
- The egg wash (brushing the bread with the beaten egg) was to give the bread colour and shine, as well as give the crust extra crunch.
- The water used doesn’t have to be tepid. It’ll rise faster if it is, but a slow rise gives a stronger flavour. So if you’re using really cold water you might have to use more than 2 hours for the bread to have sufficient rise.
- Since I wanted to make the bread early in the morning I placed the bread in the fridge after shaping and leaving it to rest for an hour. My fridge in this apartment is really cold so this effectively halted rising, but if your fridge isn’t that cold, your bread may continue to rise in the fridge in an overnight proof. So test it out, and you can adjust your baking times according to that if you don’t want to bake this bread all at one go. Either way make sure to let your bread come back to room temperature before baking.
- I tend to always use dried rosemary and black pepper in the bread I make, but it’s really up to you if you want to do it or not.