Stout and Walnut Bread

Longueville House Stout and Walnut BreadThis recipe for Stout and Walnut Bread comes from the winner of our Food EXTRA Award, sponsored by Fáilte Ireland: the O’Callaghan family’s beautiful country house hotel, Longueville House, at Mallow, Co Cork. Renowned for its fine food and drink – and much more –

Longueville is beautifully located overlooking the bountiful River Blackwater, and it is virtually self-sufficient as the river, farm and a large organic walled garden supply fresh salmon in season, their own lamb, and all the fruit and vegetables. They even have their own vineyard and, in good years, the estate’s crowning glory is their own house wine, a light refreshing white, “Coisreal Longueville”.

Their abundant apple supply is used to make apple brandy, as well as a whole range of seasonal dishes and preserves - recently they’ve also been making smoked salmon and other foods for artisan gifts (individually or as baskets), all available both from the house and Mahon Point Farmers Market (Thursday).

All this, plus mushroom hunts in autumn and many other seasonal events, including their special Christmas Shopping nights, held this year on Tuesday 25th & Wednesday 26th November 2008 at 7.30pm. The Callaghans are true culinary entrepreneurs and it is always an exciting place to visit.

This delicious nutty bread is a house speciality, and it is an unusual combination of cooking styles - the method is very like traditional Irish soda bread, but fresh yeast is used as the raising agent instead of bread soda and buttermilk. Murphy’s stout is made in Cork, and adds its special flavour, although Guinness is more widely available and could be used instead.

This recipe is published in Irish Country House Cooking, The Blue Book Recipe Collection which is available on this site for €25 including p&p.

Makes two loaves

8fl oz / 225ml / 1 US cup stout (preferably Murphy’s)
8fl oz / 225ml / 1 US cup warm water
1 tbsp / 11/4 US tablespoons treacle,
1½ oz / 40g fresh yeast
1¾ lb / 800g / 7 cups (firmly packed) wholemeal flour,
1 tsp salt,
2 tbsp / 2½ US tablespoons walnuts, chopped

In a saucepan, warm the stout and water to about blood temperature. (If overheated the yeast in the stout will be killed.)

Remove from the heat, whisk in the treacle and then the yeast, making sure it dissolves into  the stout completely.

Mix the flour, salt and walnuts together. Make a well in the centre, and add the wet ingredients. Mix well to make a fairly soft, pliable dough; adjust with a little extra water or flour if it seems too dry or too wet.

Divide the mixture in two, and place in two buttered loaf tins, 8 inch / 20cm x 4 inch / 10cm. Leave in a warm place for about 1 hour, to rise.

Meanwhile, pre-heat a moderate oven, 330°F / 170°C / gas mark 3.

Bake the loaves in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, then remove them from the tins and turn upside-down on the oven rack; continue baking for a further 15 minutes, or until the loaves sound hollow when rapped on the base with your knuckles.

Cool on a wire rack.

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