Walnut Rye with Burrata and Honey Nut Pesto

From The Recipe Wheel, this walnut rye bread is served with creamy burrata, fresh thyme and honey nut pesto. The rye loaf has a wholesome and nutty flavour.

The Recipe Wheel
From the book The Recipe Wheel
By Rosie Ramsden
Buy on Amazon / Waterstones

Introduction

Rye flour gives this loaf a tight, dense crumb and a sharp, nutty flavour. When you realise that your rye won’t be a pillowy and light loaf but a dark and crumbly one, you’ll start to love it even more for its complex, unique flavour. It tastes and feels virtuous, but is by no means lifeless. It’s even better toasted. Spreading it with creamy burrata (buffalo mozzarella mixed with cream) and nutty pesto is such a marvellous way to serve it.

Like a wholemeal loaf, the more rye flour you use, the more water you need. It will be sticky but will produce a much moister loaf – if it’s too wet to handle, use a dough hook on a stand mixer to knead. I’ve lightened the mixture, here, by adding a little white flour.

Walnut rye makes a great sourdough loaf too. It makes a tightly packed, wet dough with an acidity that is delicious with the sweet pesto. If you have a sourdough starter, replace the yeast and warm water with 100g of starter and mix with the flour, adding enough water just to bind.

Makes 1kg loaf, serves 6-8

Ingredients

For the rye:
1 x 7g sachet of fast-action dried yeast
200–250ml lukewarm water
1 tbsp loose molasses sugar
175g rye bread flour
50g wholemeal bread flour
75g strong white bread flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
A handful of chopped walnuts
Olive oil, for greasing
For the honey walnuts and burrata:
100g chopped walnuts
50g grated Parmesan cheese
75ml olive oil
4 tbsp runny honey
A small handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked
1-2 fresh balls of burrata (available from Whole Foods, Waitrose, Italian delis and good cheesemongers – if you can’t get hold of burrata, use a good-quality buffalo mozzarella or ricotta)

Essential kit

You will need a 1kg loaf tin and a food processor.

Instructions

Mix the yeast with 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm water and the molasses sugar and set aside for 10 minutes to bubble and froth. Sift the flours into a bowl and make a well in the centre, sprinkling the salt to one side. Pour the frothy yeast into the well and gradually mix in the walnuts and the flour with your hands, adding the rest of the water drop by drop as you mix – you want it sticky, as the flour will absorb the water while it rests. Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

Knead the dough on a lightly oiled surface for 10 minutes – get sticky! – adding a little more oil to the surface if needed. Return the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and leave for 1 hour, until risen by half.

Knead briefly. Lightly grease and flour a 1kg loaf tin and shape the dough to fit snugly inside. Leave to rise for a second time until risen by half again.

Preheat the oven to 230°C/fan 210°C/gas 8. Place the loaf in the oven and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until baked through, checking its inner temperature with a thermometer or knocking for a hollow sound. Remove from the oven and leave in its tin to cool slightly. Then tip out on to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Meanwhile, make the pesto. Grind the walnuts and Parmesan together in a food processor or a pestle and mortar to a fine breadcrumb consistency. Season with salt and black pepper, then, still whizzing, slowly pour in the olive oil until the walnuts have formed a paste. Spoon into a bowl and stir in the honey. Top with the thyme leaves. Spread generously on the rye bread with the burrata.

Time to mix and knead: 25 minutes + proving. Time to cook: 50-60 minutes.

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