This bread brought back memories. Memories of a nut bread that my mother used to buy from a Danish bakery in my home town. Memories of Danish relatives and delicious baked goods. Perfect memories for this time of year.
I found this wonderful whole wheat and walnut bread in The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas. It gave me the opportunity to try Red Star’s Platinum yeast which I won from Barbara at Barbara Bakes (along with a wonderful apron and bread board). Thank you, Barbara, and Red Star Yeast – the bread turned out beautifully!
The recommendation was to serve the bread with cheese or flavored butters. It was perfect served with cheese – especially a Wisconsin-made Lake Country cheese from Costco which has a delicious sharp and nutty flavor.
Danish Wheat-Walnut Wreath Bread
Makes 1 Wreath
My Notes: I used 5 cups of bread flour, buttermilk rather than yogurt, and 1 cup of chopped walnuts. My loaf took closer to 45 minutes to bake. I used a bread machine to make the dough through the first rise stage. You could also use a stand mixer with a dough hook.
1 cup boiling water
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water, 105 to 115F
1 tablespoon dark corn syrup
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup unflavored yogurt or buttermilk
4-1/2 to 5-1/2 cups bread or unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
In a small bowl, pour the boiling water over the whole wheat flour, stir to mix and let stand until room temperature.
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the 1/2 cup warm water. Let stand 5 minutes. Add the corn syrup, salt and yogurt (or buttermilk)
Add the cooled wheat flour mixture and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. (The whole wheat flour mixture may be lumpy.) Stir in bread or all-purpose flour 1 cup at a time, beating after each addition until the dough is stiff. Let stand 15 minutes.
Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Clean the bowl, oil it, and add the dough to the bowl, turning to grease all sides. Let rise for about 1 hour or until doubled. Knead the walnuts into the dough.
Lightly oil a work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Divide into 2 parts. Roll each part into a long strand, 25 to 30 inches long. Twist together to make a 2-strand rope.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it. Place rope onto the baking sheet to form a wreath; pinch ends together. Let rise, covered with plastic wrap or a towel, until puffy but not quite doubled, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F. Bake wreath for 30 to 35 minutes or until the loaf is lightly browned. Cool on a rack.