How to Make Rustic Cashew Bread
I want to let you in on a little secret I have recently discovered: cashew bread. Every time my husband eats this, he says, "That is such good bread." Brazil, where I live, has many wonderful 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 he was hooked. He loves traditional German-style breads, 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, wholemeal, and cashew) produce a bread with a rich nutty flavor with all the goodness of wholemeal. We have used this bread with sweet and savory toppings. Strong cheeses, pâtés, bananas, and honey all work well.
If you are tired of the boring and tasteless white bread that is commonly bought at the store, give this a try. Although I knead it a few times, it can be made without any kneading. This will leave you with a firm dense texture. If you prefer it lighter, you can increase the white flour and decrease the wholemeal. Additional kneading will also give you a lighter bread.
- 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
- 1-1.5 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 the mixture to come away from the bowl into 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 an 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 home made 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.
Use this recipe as a guideline. As my friend said, "I don't use a recipe". Nor did she measure anything, she gets a different loaf each time. Use it to experiment and build your confidence in bread baking.
It was a friend here in Brazil who recommended this book to us. He owned a small guest house here and wanted to provide his guests with good bread for the breakfast buffet.
When my husband and I visited him, he showed us this book, that he relies on to make his bread. He knew my husband's love of bread and suggested we buy it, which we did.
That started us off on a passion for home bread baking.
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© 2012 Mary Wickison