It has been six months since I fractured my left ankle and had surgery. Despite my friends assurances that I ‘would be back to normal in no time’, I knew I would not. I have limited movement and strength, and I still have pain and swelling. It is difficult to get shoes to fit! At the moment, I am working on running and jumping in physiotherapy. I can jog for about a minute, painfully, and the jumping is less successful. Ah well, that is why I am baking with my lovely daughter. Her limitations are much greater than mine, as she relies on a wheelchair for mobility. I am grateful for what I can now accomplish.
This week we made a Stilton, Pear and Walnut Bread from Paul Hollywood’s “British Baking” book. Place 500g bread flour in a large bowl. Add 10g salt to one side of the flour and 7g (instant) yeast to the other. Put 20g of diced softened butter and about 250 ml of 320ml of water. start mixing with your hand and slowly add extra water until the dough is “soft and slightly sticky”. Knead the dough for at least five minutes, put it in an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size.
Punch down the dough. Now it’s time to add the goodies; 200g stilton cheese, 100g walnut pieces, and 1 pear peeled and diced. We had a bit of trouble with this, especially with the pear which was wet and poked through the dough.
I left Becky to do the hard work while I supervised. We only used about half the amount of blue cheese, which wasn’t stilton, and about 2/3 of the pear, but it was a struggle to fit everything in. We (Becky) shaped the dough into a rectangle 30 cm (12″) long and then rolled it up like a sausage. Repeat this tucking the ends under. Put the dough on a prepared baking tray and leave to prove for 40 minutes or doubled in size. Heat the oven to 200 C or 400 F. Rub flour over the dough and make diagonal cuts across the top.
Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.
Although we used half the amount of cheese, we found the flavour to be quite strong. I would use even less next time, add more walnuts, and cut the pear into smaller pieces and maybe dry it a bit on a towel. It was a really nice bread and made great cheese and tomato on toast.