Spelt, fig and walnut bread

We have discovered recently that Rose loves to bake, and this has really spurred me on to make more tasty treats for us. Since the summer I have been doing a weekly pizza, making up big batches of dough (it seems to come out so much better when you double the recipe…) and chopping it up and freezing the extra for the next time. I am getting quite good at bread now and really really enjoy making it and eating it fresh from the oven.

Last weekend on a rainy afternoon we went to get some supplies and I noticed spelt flour on offer and was feeling brave to branch out from my safe pizza bread. I have heard of this one before and thought it might be a tasty alternative, and maybe a nutritious one, to have a go with.

On the back of the bag there was this little recipe for a loaf pepped up with figs and walnuts. It sounded too good not to have a try.

This was a great little bake to do with Rose as we had to add the walnuts and figs to the orange juice and stir those together etc. so this added an extra step for her on top of the bread part. And a major bonus that it was really really nice. Rose called it ‘cake bread’ and really enjoyed it too. I was a little bit worried about using walnuts for something I wanted to be able to share with her, but I chopped mine into nice small pieces and  found that after soaking and baking they were so soft they weren’t really much difference in consistency to the bread and no problem for Rose to chomp through. Do be careful when serving though if you have a young child though and check how yours have come out, but don’t be put off this recipe for children – it was a real hit!

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So here is the recipe (in case your spelt flour doesn’t have this one on the bag, and also to help you plan your shopping) The method is my own bread making method so not quite what the packet planned, but I hope it works well if you have a go. And maybe you don’t have to use spelt flour, but a nice brown flour might be just as nice.

I n g r e d i e n t s

1tsp dry yeast (I used a sachet of dry yeast)
500g wholewheat spelt flour
1tsp salt
1tsp sugar
300ml warm water
1tbsp oil
100g dried figs
50g walnuts
4tbsp orange juice

M e t h o d

Weigh out your spelt flour in a bowl, add the salt and stir.

In a jug, measure out 300ml of warm water and add your yeast and sugar. Give a good mix (it doesn’t need to blend, just so the yeast is all wet). Add the oil, then pour this onto the flour in the bowl.

Stir together until well blended, then turn out to knead. Sometimes I turn out the mixture while there is still quite a lot of loose flour as I find this all combines during the kneading process and saves the need for adding more flour to the mix to flour the worktop.

Knead until the dough is soft and smooth, just about ten minutes, then place back in the bowl, cover and leave to double in size (spelt flour rises quicker than normal wheat flour so it’s difficult to give a time. Mine took about 45 minutes, normally an hour for normal bread)

While the dough is rising, chop your figs and walnuts and add them to a bowl with the orange juice. Leave them to soak (if you can resist them, Rose couldn’t – she doesn’t get juice very often you might be able to tell!)

When your dough has risen, turn it out onto your floured worktop and add the figs and walnuts. Knead firmly for several minutes until well combined.

Shape the dough, or place it in a 2lb loaf tin, and leave to rise again for about 40 minutes. Bake in the oven at 220 degrees celcius for 40/45 minutes..

I like to wrap my bread in a clean tea towel to cool. I’m not really sure why, but think it helps keep in some of the moisture. Definitely be sure to cut off a good wedge while it’s hot and serve with butter. And the next day great for toast. mmm.