Cheese and Walnut Stout Bread

Cheese and Walnut Stout Bread

Cheese and Walnut Stout Bread

If you want to make your next lunch time a bit more interesting, or you are looking for a way to jazz up a ploughmans, then this bread may be what you have been looking for.
Something between a Sourdough and a Rye loaf, this bread has a dense, chewy texture and a deep bitey taste - it is something out of the ordinary as well as being very easy to make! 

Note: It really does need to be a partially wholemeal loaf to counter the deep flavour and viscosity of the Guinness.  A light Rye flour is also good.

Cheese and Walnut Stout Bread1 pint (about 500mls) Guinness or your favourite stout – at room temperature
400 grams plain white bakers 00 flour
300 grams wholemeal bakers flour
1 ½ teaspoons dry yeast (only need a little as the stout provides the rest)
1 ½ - 2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground fennel
½ teaspoon caraway seeds, lightly pounded
1 tablespoon walnut or sunflower oil
1 cup of very sharp vintage cheese
½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C

In a very large mixing bowl combine the salt, flours, yeast, fennel and caraway seeds.  Combine and make a well in the centre.
Pour in the Guinness and honey, bringing the mixture into a loose dough.  The dough will be very wet and sticky to start with, once it is worked a little it starts to come together well.
Once the mixture has formed a moist dough, turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead for at least 10 minutes or until the dough really comes together well into a neat ball and is not leaving any trace on the bench.
Oil the mixing bowl lightly and return the dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot (near the oven) to allow the dough to rise for an hour.

Once the dough has proven, turn it back out onto a lightly oiled bench, knock it back and knead in the cheese and walnuts.
Form the dough into one large or two small round cob loaves and place on a floured tray, drizzle over a little oil, a few flakes of salt and a light dusting of flour.
Leave to prove for another 20 minutes, or until almost doubled in size.

Bake in a hot oven for 25-35 minutes or until hollow sounding and browned a little on top.
Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Great with pickled onions, olives, gherkins, shavings of cold meat, sharp cheese or pâté.

Cheese variations:  blue cheese is good, plenty of flavour and body, goats cheese can be good as long as it is not too overpowering.  Do not use a soft cheese like Brie, as it tends to ooze through the dough and spoil the texture.

If you are not mad on walnuts, this loaf could be made without them, however the flavour would be quite diminished.  An alternatives could be pinenuts, pecans or even chestnuts would be super.