10 November 2013

Walnut Maple Swirl Bread

Eve 09/11/13

Egg Free

Nutty maple-iness all rolled up in a soft, slightly chewy bread, what more could you want?

This bread is fluffy and light yet dense and chewy, kinda like the texture of a bagel, but not...
A swirl of maple syrup, walnuts and butter runs through the bread, giving it a earthy and woody sweetness. Perfect for this time of year.

So, looking on Pinterest, swirl bread has become very popular. Normally swirled with cinnamon sugar and sometimes raisins too. But instead of following the crowd, I filled mine with walnuts and maple syrup, like a big sticky bun.

This bread is great as it is or toasted with lots of butter. The bread would also be a great base for a bread and butter pudding (coming soon).

The recipe for this dough is the same as in my sun-dried tomato tear and share bread but I have added some extra ingredients...

  1. Melted butter instead of oil for extra richness and softness of the dough. Using the butter in the dough instead of the oil made the bread more on the sweeter side.
  2. Dark brown sugar instead of normal sugar to give the bread more dept in flavour and colour.
If you read last weeks post on my sticky ginger cupcakes, you know that I am not so keen on the perfect white sugar now, and guess what?


This yummy loaf is refined sugar free!

Well, except for the optional topping...

Feel free to use unrefined sugar for the top.

I love making bread, I used to make it in my stand mixer with the dough hook but alas, things have changed. I find using a dough hook while making bread doesn't knead the dough that well at all compared to using you hands. The hook can't manipulate the dough like you hands can so the loaf will have a denser texture, making the proving time longer. Also, using your hands while knead is very therapeutic (for me). After a hard day of work, in the office, making phone calls or being at a boring meeting, you just need to take out you stress or anger on something. 
Take it out on to the dough.  
Bread dough will benefit hugely from punches and hits as well as kneading and stretching. This is why I love hand making bread.

I do recommend knead with your hands 100%. Even if you are not confident with your kneading technique, just take some time to practice on the dough.

This bread is very easy to make, just knead, prove, roll, spread, prove and bake. The second prove is very important as it ensures a light loaf. Make sure you prove it for long enough though, about 45 minutes did it for me. 

There is no point proving the dough and then knocking out all of the air, is there? I now never knock down my dough, just shape it or roll it out in this case. When the dough proves, the yeast springs to life and releases carbon dioxide, making the dough rise and become airy. Also, proving lets the gluten in the dough relax, making it easier to shape. If you knock back the dough, you lose the yeast's hard work, deflating the dough. When rolling out the dough for recipe, be gentle!

When making the filling for the bread, please use room temperature butter as it is so much easier to beat and combined with the maple syrup and nuts. Chill the filling too, just for ten minutes, you won't believe the difference it makes to the texture.
I used "Clark's Maple Syrup" for making the filling as it was the only maple syrup the shops in my town sell. Clark's 
Maple Syrup is a mix of real maple syrup and carobs fruit syrup, not really ideal. Make sure you buy the proper stuff, unlike me.

Walnut Maple Swirl Bread 
Makes 1 bread

  • 500g Strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 7g (or 1 x 7g sachets) dried fast action yeast
  • 2og Melted butter
  • 20g. Soft dark brown sugar
  • 300ml - 330ml Warm water 
For the filling

  • 70g Smallish chopped walnuts
  • 75g Maple syrup
  • 30g Butter

  1. Put the flour into a large bowl and add the salt to one side of the flour and the sugar and yeast to the other side so they don't touch. Add the butter and mix with your hands or a wooden spoon.
  2. Add about half of the water to start with to the flour and mix with your hands. Slowly add the rest of the water until everything is combined.
  3. Tip the dough onto a clean work surface with a very small bit of oil brushed on the surface to prevent the dough from sticking.
  4. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth, taunt and elastic. 
  5. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to prove for 1 - 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size - mine quadrupled! 
  6. Meanwhile, make the filling. Put the walnuts into a bowl with the butter and syrup. Beat well until combined. Chill for 10 minutes.
  7. Once the dough has double in size, tip out of the bowl and roll out with a rolling pin until slightly wider than a 900g (2lb) loaf tin, about 30cm. It doesn't matter how long it is but it should be 1 - 2 cm thick. Spread on the walnut/maple mix and starting from the end of the dough nearest you, start to roll it up like a giant Swiss roll.
  8. Once rolled, tuck the ends underneath the bread and put into the tin. Cover with clingfilm and leave to prove for 45 -60 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200c/ 200c fan/ gas mark 6.
  9. Bake the risen dough in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until a dark golden brown. Leave to cool completely before serving.


Once cool, wrap the dough in greaseproof paper and keep in a bread bin. The loaf will keep for a maximum of 3 days.

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