N is for…

N is for… Nothing and Nuts

I wouldn’t mind being on the beach digging a hole or something like that, but I’m a long way from the seashore so I managed to hop into the Lake and have a slow swim up and down, watching the shadow of a plane gliding high above me through some little clouds; such a peaceful gentle place to spend an hour and my ennui seemed less important after that. So…

…N is for Nuts.  I am very fond of nuts. I think I like the tussle of getting them out of their shells in one piece almost as much as I enjoy eating them.  In order my favourite nuts are, cobnuts, sweet chestnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans and brazils.

 The nut breads were the recipes that enticed me to buy The Handmade Loaf and sent me off on quests for exotic ingredients and bits of kit. This photo above is one of the first of my home baking efforts; Dan Lepard’s sweet chestnut and hazelnut bread.

I am definitely looking forward to making his cobnut signature bread again.

It shouldn’t be long now till the cobnuts make their journey from Kent to my greengrocers.  We love this soft and grainy bread, sweet with honey and nuts, both in the special shape that Dan Lepard makes in the book and as soft topped rolls.

Once upon a time I bought a pullman tin on ebay which came all the way from Malaya, (I have two more of these tins, a French one and an American one and I can’t believe that no one manufactures them in this country)  just so I could make this almond milk loaf.

I was fascinated by the idea of a nut milk  “a marzipan that is mixed with water to make an iced summertime drink“, though I couldn’t really taste the almonds in the loaf in the end when I finally made it. I was still very proud that I managed to do it after lots of help from kind people on DL’s forum about dough quantities and tin sizes.

This bread also features nuts; a rye bread with walnuts I made more recently from ‘Bread’ by Jeffrey Hamelman.

24 thoughts on “N is for…

  1. Ruth

    I really like the photo of Zeb on the beach – maybe it’s because we are getting our own little dog on Friday… can’t wait. I also love the photo of Zeb in the water on your header. :-)

    1. Joanna Post author

      How exciting to have a dog coming! Hope to see pictures on your blog Ruth. Zeb is a paddler and scrabbler, he is not that keen on swimming but splashing around ankle deep is his idea of doggy heaven :)

  2. Misk Cooks

    I love the idea of watching a aeroplane’s shadow whilst swimming. That’s quite a special picture gave us there. Nicely done.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I thought it was a bird at first but then I worked it out. The sun has to be relatively high in the sky I think, above the plane and thin cloud below. You don’t get to see that in an indoor pool ;)

  3. cityhippyfarmgirl

    I hadn’t noticed the almond milk loaf in the book before, I just had a peek and it looks good. I love almonds in everything…. was looking at one of those tins today, do I really??…no I don’t, and flicked off again…well until another day that is.

    1. Joanna Post author

      It makes a very sturdy loaf as I remember it. Dan writes it gets extra protein in the loaf. So many of the recipes are about showing us how we can add things into the breads we make intelligently, making use of leftovers and produce that is around, it’s both an exploration and a celebration of all the many food stuffs we are blessed with. I am still enchanted with the book today :)

  4. emilydev9

    Mmm, I want to make a nut bread now! It’s also an excuse to eat/bake down the cupboard a bit more.

    Speaking of Zeb I should introduce you to a friend in Oslo who has a black/grey/brown standard poodle called Cora, who’s quite a character… I’ll send her – the friend – a link to your blog.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Nuts go off after a few months, so bake down that cupboard !

      Zeb would be delighted to make Cora’s acquaintance :)

  5. emilysincerely

    oh, I am nuts (and I like nuts too). I just started soaking and adding some grains and nuts to my no-knead bread – millet, amaranth, sun flower seeds, etc. The bread becomes more dense and the added protein is nice. All of your breads have a wonderful look to them that tells me they are delicious. Emily

  6. heidi

    Nuts are my favorite with candy-and cookies-and fillings! And for just just eating!
    All of the breads are just beautiful- Have you ever made a sweet nut loaf?
    I have a nut loaf with dates and pecans that I like a great deal.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I’m nuts for praline and icecream with nuts in and chocolate and hazelnuts and yes I’m just a bit nutty Heidi. :)

      I made the fig and hazelnut one for Mellow Bakers and at Christmas of course I put nuts in my Christmas cakes. Date and walnut cake is very popular in England too. Walnuts being cheaper and more easily available than pecans which don’t grow as far as I know here.

  7. sallybr

    Oh, I cannot believe you are in letter N already! I fly to Brazil and back, and you kept flying even faster…. ;-)

    Now, would you mind nagging me every couple of weeks to get serious and MAKE that cobnut bread from Lepard? Ever since you made it I want to make it, and… still dragging my feet

    wonderful post, Joanna… loved all the photos, and Zeb is just as adorable as ever!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Still here! Was reading your blog and ogling those street market photos earlier on. And I love the photo of you and your Mum. It sounds like a great trip Sally. Glad you like the post x :)

  8. C

    Beautiful photos – I love the way Zeb looks so intent on what he’s doing. Perhaps he’s trying to save you an airfare to Australia so you can visit blogging friends???

    Nuts in bread must be nice for the textural contrast. I make do with the soft texture of dried fruit but wonder what nuts would be like. Mind you, when I made Dan’s chilli peanut loaves I wasn’t that keen so I don’t lust too much after what I can’t have. I can understand you loving nut loaves though – my mum is the same!

    1. Joanna Post author

      He is useless at digging usually. He much prefers to watch someone else dig in case they find something interesting for him to take away and chew ;)

      I’m racking my brains to think what could give you the equivalent or similar mouth feel to nuts. I’m thinking about gently toasted wheat grains, soaked in apple juice. There must be something that would give you a nutty hit without the allergic reaction. Water chestnuts, are they really a nut? They have a crunchiness but not much taste. What about bean pastes like in Chinese baking? I wonder if Celia might know….

      1. C

        Well, I can use cashews and peanuts so I can sub those where required. I think it’s more a mindset of automatically discounting the recipes with nuts in. Will look at all the recipes again (no hardship!) I’d have to rely on someone else to tell me how closely the texture of peanuts/cashews mimics the actual nut specified though!

        Shame you can’t set Zeb to dig a tunnel to Australia!

        1. Joanna Post author

          I’ve never seen a bread recipe in a mainstream bread book with cashews in. I wonder why that is…. more investigation needed. I will see what I can find out. :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      You did that one beautifully! I think Dan (at the risk of sounding like someone seriously sucking up here) is an inspiration to loads of people :)

  9. Ann Hall

    Another huge fan of Dan Lepard here. The Handmade Loaf was the first book I got when I started to be interested in making sourdough bread. Apart from the recipes it is so interesting to read about the different countries and their breads.
    Spot would love to join Zeb in digging on the beach!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi there Ann, lovely to hear from you – all looking forward to Dan’s new book coming out in September here too – Short and Sweet :)

  10. Nip it in the bud

    N is for … never enough time?
    For reading fab blog posts. For trying tasty looking recipes. For keeping on top of jobs in the garden.
    Hey ho, I agree nuts are lush but my use of the word would more likely reflect my mind than the cravings of my belly!

Comments are closed.