Ok so you know how good we are at talking ourselves out of going to the gym?
Eating cookies, reading old copies of US Weekly and catching up on Bethanny Ever After take up a LOT of time. Time well spent we might add.
But watch out muffins, because these bakers actually made it to the gym. No seriously, watch out, we're kind of spazzes on the ellipticals.
But you know what all this working out means?
Right! Carbo loading. As in carbs, our most favorite things in the world and lots of 'em. You know, to make sure we have the energy and necessary glucose supplies to carry us through our extremely intense workouts. Er, sure.
We obviously had to make something completely delicious and sufficiently carb-laden to give us the strength to elliptical AND watch Gossip Girl on the iPod at the same time.
So we made bread. Walnut raisin bread.
Because plain old bread is superb, but throw in walnuts and raisins and it's insanely superb.
Aaaaand walnuts give you that good fat people talk about.
And raisins are just tan little grapes. See, so there's fruit! Which totally is good for worker-outers like us. Fruits and good fats.
Mmm hmm. This gym business isn't so bad after all...
Walnut Raisin Bread
Makes 1 loaf
Adapted from My Bread
400 grams bread flour (3 cups)
85 grams raisins (1/2 cup)
50 grams walnuts, roughly chopped (1/2 cup)
8 grams salt (1 1/4 teaspoon)
2 grams ground cinnamon (3/4 teaspoon)
2 grams instant dry yeast (1/2 teaspoon)
Pinch of black pepper
350 grams cool water (1 1/2 cups)
Wheat bran, cornmeal, or additional flour for dusting
Equipment: A 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 quart heavy pot with lid
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, raisins, walnuts, salt, cinnamon, yeast, and pepper. Add the water and stir until you have a wet, sticky dough. Cover the bowl and let dough sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours (our dough went for 17 hours).
Dust a work surface with flour and use a rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece onto the work surface. Using floured hands, gently form the dough into a round. Be careful not to overwork the dough, you just want a rough, round shape.
Place a tea towel on your work surface and dust it with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Transfer the dough to the towel and dust the top lightly with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until it is almost doubled. If you poke the dough with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it doesn't, let it rise for another 15 minutes.
Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and place the covered heavy pot in the center of the rack.
When second rise is complete, remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly invert the dough into the pot. Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the lid and continue baking until bread is a deep brown color, 15 to 30 minutes more. When bread is done, use a spatula or pot holders to gently lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly. Resist the temptation to slice into the hot bread! Let the bread cool for at least an hour.
This bread is best eaten within 2 days of baking. We love it toasted with a pat (or a large smear) of butter. And it is also completely delicious with ricotta cheese that you might happen to have lying around after some carbo loading at dinner the night before.