Pain aux Noix a Recipe for Walnut Bread
In Canada, walnuts are often dry, stale, and even at times rancid. In Provence (and many parts of France), walnut trees grow in the wild. In the Dordogne, you see orchards of sturdy walnut trees, which produce nuts the size of large golf balls. Once the shells are cracked open you will discover that walnuts (noix in French) are delicious.
A few years ago my friend Elspeth made me try Pain aux Noix from the monastery in Le Barroux. I didn’t understand—walnuts are nasty, why have bread with them? At least that was my experience in Canada. She insisted that I’ve never had a proper, fresh walnut, and if I did, I’d change my mind. She was right! French walnuts are amazing, meaty, sweet, gorgeous. So this is my attempt at recreating the best pain aux noix (walnut bread) I’ve ever had.
How to Pick Walnuts by Curious Provence
Walnut Wine – Vin de Noix – Fête de la St Jean by Curious Provence
Pain aux Noix - Walnut Bread
- 350 g All-Purpose Flour (unbleached) or a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat)
- 210 ml Water
- 70 g Chopped Walnuts
- 1 tbsp Walnut Oil
- 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
- 1 tsp Lemon juice
- 1 tsp Salt
- Combine a pinch of sugar and 60ml (1/4 cup) of the water in a small bowl.
- Sprinkle with the yeast.
- Set aside in a draught-free place for a few minutes until foaming.
- Combine the flour, salt, water, yeast, oil, and lemon juice in the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook attachment. Slowly blend (If necessary, add a little extra water if the dough is too dry, or flour if it’s too sticky).
- Once combined knead on medium speed for 6 minutes or until smooth.
- Add the walnuts and knead until incorporated (but not crushed).
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times by hand until smooth and elastic.
- Brush a large bowl with oil to grease.
- Place the dough in the bowl and turn to lightly coat in the oil.
- Cover the bowl with damp towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1-2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Punch down the centre of the dough with your fist.
- Shape dough into a ball or a loaf.
- Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover loosely with a tea towel.
- Set aside for 1 hour or until the loaf rises slightly.
- Cut 3 slashes diagonally on the top.
- Preheat oven to 400F (200C).
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the loaf is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the base.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly