Walnut Rye with Burrata and Honey Nut Pesto
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.
|For the rye:|
|1 x 7g sachet||of fast-action dried yeast|
|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:|
|50g||grated Parmesan cheese|
|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)|
You will need a 1kg loaf tin and a food processor.
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.