Sometimes I photograph what I like to cook, but most of the time I cook what I would like to photograph. Still, compositions are my passion, I love making them. I know its very old fashioned, from the old world, so probably I am too 🙂 There are days I like to spend in my studio playing with props, or just walk around or listen to the music while sitting in an armchair and browsing through the artwork of the old masters. This time I was itching to create a grand composition, but later have shifted direction to something more simple but nevertheless outstanding. All elements seemed to be in place, but one of the ingredients was missing. An item from the past is seen on our tables these days as well. The idea with bread seemed the most suitable – dark texture, good crust, nuts, and grains, just like in the old days. Red wine, onions, and bread. I rushed to start my dough. I have finished baking at 2 AM in the morning. The next day, after breakfast I have immediately started photographing and I have to tell you – I am very pleased indeed! And, of course, the bread is delicious, sweet, and the walnut-cherry combination is very unique – it will go great with foie gras pate and French cheeses. I hope you enjoy my art and try to bake the bread as well.
It feels like a good start to the New Year filled with beauty and inspiration.
May this coming year be filled with magic, dreams, and inspiration. Read wise books, kiss someone who thinks you are wonderful and don’t forget the art – paint, draw, write poetry or music, sing and live the way only you can live. And, I am sure, someday next year you will surprise yourself!
Walnut Bread with Cherries
- 1 cup (250 ml) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (250ml) rustic wheat flour
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, (preferably Dutch-processed)
- 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) dry yeast
- 2/3 cup (130-160 ml) lukewarm sparkling water, (I use San Pellegrino)
- 1/3 cup (50-70 ml) molasses or dark honey
- 2 Tbsp. walnut oil, (or any other vegetable oil)
- 1/2 tsp salt, (I use pink Himalayan salt)
- 3/4 cup (50 ml) dried cherries
- 3 Tbsp. rum or brandy
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
In the small bowl combine cherries and rum. Set aside.
In another bowl, combine half of the water and sprinkle with the yeast. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes, then stir to combine.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix together the flour and salt. Slowly add the yeast mixture, remaining water, and the molasses or honey. Increase the speed to medium-low and knead for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the walnut oil at the end. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Take the cherries out of rum and coat them with flour. Add the cherries and walnuts into a risen dough, knead a bit more. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, lightly pat and form a loaf, dust with flour and leave to rise again for about 20 min.
Place a baking stone on the bottom oven rack and preheat the oven to 450°F.
Using a thin, sharp knife, make 3 gentle slashes across the top of each loaf. Place the baking sheet on the stone and bake for about 7 minutes, then reduce the heat to 400°F and bake until the loaves are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes more. Let cool completely on wire racks before slicing and serving.