Fresh baked bread, when is that ever a bad idea? Pretty much never. Even during this oddly sweltering Springtime heatwave I still crank up the oven and bake away. (Oh, I'm such a martyr. haha.)
Today we are enjoying another version of no-knead crusty bread: Walnut and Blue Cheese. Toasted walnuts and tangy blue cheese crumbles are dotted throughout this easy to bake, no-knead, artisan-style bread. Tossed into a dutch oven for all of 45 minutes after an overnight rise it adds up to very little work for a very tasty loaf of fresh bread.
As you may recall, we've covered the bread baking basics with a recipe for Baby Gouda & Rosemary Bread. By now you've made your first loaf and are ready for more, right? Excellent! And if not, well, you're in luck because today is your golden opportunity to conquer bread-making! Fear not the very-hot dutch oven or bubbly yeast dough, you can do this.
Toasted walnuts and tangy crumbled blue cheese. It's a winning combination tossed into green salads, so why not tucked into a loaf of bread? Why not indeed. We served this bread tartine style with charcuterie pairings and it was lovely - thinly sliced prosciutto, mixed medley of Greek olives, and of course, even more blue cheese. In case you haven't noticed, we like cheese in this house.
A word about walnuts and purple bread... walnut oil has a tendency to turn bread dough slightly purple so do not be alarmed if this happens. The more you knead your dough the more the walnut oils will spread, and thus even more purple coloring throughout your loaf. This is perfectly normal and will not affect anything aside from color. If you look closely at the photos above, you can see some patches of deeper purple color surrounding the walnuts.
In retrospect, this loaf would also be wonderful with chunky pieces of fresh figs, dried cherries, or olives baked into the dough. Get creative with your ingredients and let me know your favorite flavor combinations!
No-Knead Bread: Walnut & Blue Cheese
- 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 3/4 teaspoons Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Instant or Rapid-Rise Yeast
- 1 1/2 cups Water, warm
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 3/4 cup Walnuts, toasted
- 1/2 cup Blue Cheese, crumbled
Night Before: Prepare Dough
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, yeast, and sugar. Pour the warm water directly over the mixture and stir well with a sturdy wood spoon. Keep your hands out of the dough if possible, it's a sticky mess at this stage! Continue mixing until all dry ingredients are incorporated and the dough is shaggy. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and allow it to rest at room temperature (do not chill) overnight or 12 to 18 hours.
After rising overnight, your bread dough should have at least doubled in size.
Next Day: Preheat Oven / Second Rise
If you haven't already toasted the walnuts yet, do so now. Toasting the nuts lends a wonderful aroma and flavor, so don't skip this step. Then place a dutch oven with a lid directly into the oven, and preheat to 450°F. This will allow both the oven and pot to warm up at the same time. It is essential that the dutch oven be hot before baking the bread!
Meanwhile, dump the bowl of dough onto a heavily floured surface. Sprinkle toasted walnuts and blue cheese crumbles directly onto the wet dough, then gently fold the edges of the dough inward to form a pocket of nuts and cheese. You may knead the dough a few times to distribute the ingredients or just proceed with shaping it into a ball. Cover the shaped dough with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and allow it to rest (and rise for a secod time) while the dutch oven is warming.
Baking the Bread:
Once the dutch oven has been warmed in a 450°F oven for at least 30 minutes, proceed with baking the bread in two steps. Bake the bread, covered with lid, for 30 minutes. Then remove lid and bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes. Crust of the bread will be golden brown when finished baking.
Serve warm and topped with your favorite charcuterie garnishes.
Storing the bread: We typically finish a loaf within a few days and will leave it sitting out on a wooden cutting board, draped with a heavy kitchen towel (helps to keep the bread moist). Should your bread last longer than a few days place it into paper bag to help preserve it's freshness.