Mary loves cooking from scratch using natural ingredients. Here she shares some of her favorite recipes and products.
I want to let you in on a little secret I have recently discovered: cashew bread. Whenever my husband eats this, he says, "That is such good bread." Brazil, where I live, has many excellent things, but bread isn't one of them. The bread in the local shops leaves a lot to be desired.
I was introduced to this bread when my friend Ruth came to visit. She was carrying two small silver parcels wrapped in foil. She said in her Swiss accent. "I have been baking bread this morning."
My husband and I tried it that afternoon and loved it. He adores traditional German-style bread, and this was a hearty, wonderfully nutty bread. After lunch, I phoned Ruth, thanking her and asking for her recipe. She invited us for coffee and a bread-making session.
The combination of three flours (white, whole meal, and cashew) produce a bread with a rich nutty flavor with all the goodness of a whole meal. We have used this bread with sweet and savory toppings. Strong cheeses such as Gorgonzola, pâtés, bananas, and honey all work well.
If you are tired of the bland, tasteless white bread commonly available at the store, give this a try. I knead mine a few times, but that's optional; not kneading will result in a firmer texture. If you prefer it lighter, you can increase the white flour and decrease the whole meal. Additional kneading will also give you softer bread.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
4 hours 4 min
4 hours 39 min
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
- 1/3 cup water, warmed slightly if you have cold tap water
- 255 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 255 grams (2 cups) whole wheat flour
- 55 grams (1/2 cup) cashew flour
- 50 grams (1/3 cup) cashew nuts, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups water, this will vary (best room temperature)
- Begin by placing the yeast, sugar and water into a deep bowl. Stir until all lumps are dissolved.
- Leave this until it becomes foamy, about 15 minutes.
- Add the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cashew flour, cashew nuts, salt and honey if using. Mix well.
- Now you will need to add water. The amount will vary on the quality of flour, humidity etc. Start with just a half cup and begin to blend. I prefer to use a wooden spoon to do this. If this is still too dry continue to add more. I used 1 1/4 cups but yours could be less or more. What you are aiming for is for the mixture to come away from the bowl to form a ball. You should be able to touch the dough and not have flour or dough sticking to your hand. When this forms a ball remove it from the bowl and drop it forcibly on the counter a couple of times. This is to knock out any air bubbles.
- Next, pop this back into the bowl, and cover. I prefer to use plastic wrap that has a light coating of oil. The oil prevents the dough from sticking if it rises that high. This will depend on the size of your bowl and the warmth in your kitchen. My friend Ruth covers hers with a kitchen towel and puts her in the oven which is not turned on. She has curious cats. Leave the dough to rise for about 4 hours. You can leave it longer if you want, the flavor will only improve.
- After your dough has doubled in size, you can knead it a bit if you want. I can't say I have noticed a difference through kneading though. At this point, if you want bread for the following day, you can refrigerate it. The yeast will continue to work but much more slowly.
- Divide your dough into six portions. Roll each one in your hands into a sausage shape. Fold the ends under so that you end up with a nice chunky roll. This can also be formed into a round if you prefer.
- Space evenly on a baking tray. There is no need to grease this. I then like to cut chevrons into the top of the bread with kitchen scissors and lightly dust with flour, this just gives it a rustic homemade appearance. Place in the oven for 35-45 minutes and turn your oven on to 425°. The time it takes to cook will vary depending on how quickly your oven heats up. If you want a crispy crust, preheat oven and reduce cooking time. The bread is done when you hear a dull thud by tapping on the base of the bread.
© 2012 Mary Wickison