Nothing beats the smell of fresh bread baking in your kitchen. This easy whole wheat bread with raisins and walnuts is no exception!
This easy whole wheat walnut and raisin bread is inspired by a bread I came across during my summer vacations two years ago. It's an easy recipe because it uses the autolyse method (more about that below) which produces very nice results with less effort, and it has great taste because of all the flavorings and the sweet-earthy taste of the whole wheat flour.
But let's take things from the beggining. Most of my friends and I, like food. And that means that when we plan our vacations we choose our hotel almost solely based on the reviews it has for its breakfast (does anyone else do that?). So, this whole wheat bread is similar to the one I ate two years ago on my trip to Peloponnese. It wasn't a sweet bread, it was more on the savory side, but the whole wheat flour and the raisins gave it a subtle sweetess that made it ideal for breakfast but also for a simple snack. In a way, it reminded me of this carob and whole wheat flour bread with walnuts, but without the chocolaty taste of the carob.
Homemade bread can be great. But the thing with many homemade recipes is that sometimes they use excessive amounts of yeast for a quick rise. This can result in a loaf with a “yeasty” smell. If the recipe has a lot of flavorings (like this recipe for beet, basil and olive oil mini bread loaves which will probably remind you of pizza while they’re baking), then this smell may go unnoticed. But if the dough is plain, then this can be a problem.
If you notice that happening with a recipe, you should reduce the amount of yeast and wait a little longer for the dough to rise. Waiting is not a bad thing, because the longer it takes for the dough to rise the more complex and mature the taste of your loaf will be.
And keep in mind that you can make the dough in advance, let it rise, and store it in the refrigerator for 1-3 days. When you want to use it, you will knead the bread and let it rise in a warm place until almost doubled in volume, and then bake it according to the recipe.
What is autolyse and how it will make your bread better.
In simple words, autolyse is the gentle mixing of the flour and water in a bread recipe, followed by a 20 to 60 minute rest period. What this does is that it allows the flour to fully hydrate, and starts certain reactions which make your bread better in texture and flavor. It also makes kneading easier, contributes to a smoother dough and reduces the amount of flour needed during kneading and shaping. You can learn more at kingarthur blog or at bekerybits.co.uk.
Basically, for an easy, tasty bread, all you need to remember is:
- Use a fork and gently mix the flour with the water until the flour is just moistened. It’s ok to see some spots of dry flour. Let the mixture rest and hydrate for 20 to 60 minutes (I do 20 minutes during summer and 30 minutes during winter).
- Knead until you get a smooth dough.
- Oh, and add some flavor! (olive oil, herbs, spices, nuts, and dried fruit are always good options)
- You know the rest! (let the dough rise, deflate and shape the bread, let the bread rise again, and bake)
- Substitute roasted cashews and dried cranberries for the walnuts and raisins, or make your own combination!
- You can use all whole wheat flour if you can get a very finely milled one. Otherwise, the texture of the crumb may seem a little rough.
- Never use hot water when you work with yeast.
- Don’t let the salt come in direct contact with the yeast.
- Use the autolyse method.
You may like these similar recipes:
Greek ceremonial bread recipe (Artos)
Black Detox Challah bread with olive oil
Quick beer and olives bread (no-yeast)
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Easy whole wheat walnut - raisin bread (Vegan)
- 2 cups (260 grams) whole wheat flour
- 1 cup (130 grams) bread flour
- 2 teaspoons (6 grams) active dry yeast
- 1 cup (245 grams) warm water, (but not hot)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons grape or maple syrup (or honey for non vegans)
- 1 teaspoon (10 grams) fine salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cups (80 grams) chopped walnuts
- ½ cup (80 grams) raisins
- Some extra flour for kneading and shaping
- Proof the yeast: transfer the yeast and two tablespoons of the flour to a large bowl and mix. Add the water and let it rest for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes it should have foamed.
- Apply the autolyse method: Add the rest of the whole wheat and the bread flour and gently mix with a fork just until moistened. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Knead the dough: Add the olive oil, the grape syrup, the salt, and the cinnamon and knead well until you get a smooth dough. Cover the dough with a clean towel and let it rest in a warm place until doubled in volume (this can take from 1 to 3 hours depending on the temperature of the room).
- Make the bread: Lightly flour your working surface and knead the dough to deflate it. Using a rolling pin or your hands, flatten the dough and spread the walnuts and the raisins on its surface. Gently fold and knead a few times until the nuts and the raisins are well distributed throughout the dough. Shape the bread and transfer it on a baking pan lined with baking paper.
- Let the bread rise until doubled in volume and preheat your oven to 430°F (220°C).
- When the bread is ready, put it in the oven and reduce temperature to 356°F (180°C). Bake for 45-55 minutes or until it is well browned on its surface. Let it on a rack to cool. Eat!
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OMG, this bread and the crust and the photos..it just looks AMAZING!!! Cant wait to try this one!
it looks amazing, thanks for the reciepe
I’d like to ask you for permission to use 1 of photo (the one with the flour) and print it. would that be ok?
Hello, looks great. Where is the picture with the flour from? Do you know the photographer?
All photos are taken by me 🙂
Tried this recipe yesterday. The bread’s soooooo good with perfect crust and texture. Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe.
Thank you for trying it! I'm very happy you liked it ?
Hi. I really like your site and posts, the recipes and images are fantastic and inspiring. I will try it. Keep up the good work and stay safe!! Da Cipriano
Thank you very much!
Wonderful bread. Great recipe.
You’ve really explain the approach and the whys very clearly. A very thoughtful approach. And you presentation with accompanying photos is beautiful. This is the first time I have seen your sight but having looked around a bit I know I will be back frequently.
Thank you for the delicious bread and the inspiration.
Thanks for the kind words Bob!
It's been some time since I made this bread and I think I will make it again next weekend. So, also thanks for reminding me!
How would you adjust this for high-altitude baking (7000 ft)?
Hi Megan, I honestly don't know. Until now I had the impression that baking cakes were mostly affected by high altitude, I thought that bread had no problem. If you have a simple bread recipe you trust, use the temperature and baking time of that recipe. I think that would do 🙂
Did not work at all for me …😩
Hi Rosario, sorry to hear that!
Can you tell me what went wrong?
This bread looks great and I want to try making it.
A couple of questions:
How long does it usually take for the dough to double in size, so it’s ready for baking?
What kind of baking pan is meant to be used for baking this bread? There are so many shapes and sizes of baking pans. Some are made for breads, some are wide and flat. Does it matter? Could I just shape it into a boule and bake it on a baking sheet?
Hi Alex, it usually takes 60-90 minutes. You can gently press the dough with your finger and if it springs back it is ready.
A baking sheet is great if you shape it into a boule! Just for your information, I've also had very good results when I baked it into a Dutch oven.