There's nothing like an extraordinarily cold day to motivate you to turn the oven on and bake a loaf of bread. This is the sort of bread that is an absolute show-stopper on a cheese board next to some wine... or on the kitchen bench next to some coffee and an obscene amount of butter.
Walnut and Currant Bread
slightly adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's Ottolenghi The Cookbook
160ml lukewarm water
1 1/2 teaspoon dried yeast
40ml freshly squeezed orange juice
250g multigrain flour (I used a German blend which includes kibbled rye, flax seeds, malted wheat flakes and kibbled maize)
65g buckwheat flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
50g walnuts, roughly chopped
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the water and yeast and set aside for 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy. Add the orange juice and both flours and mix on low speed for about 5 minutes. Add the salt and mix again for another 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and add the currants and walnuts. Mix briefly to combine.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly flour work surface and knead for a few minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and put it into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot for 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size.
Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, push it into the centre of the dough, almost cutting it in half. Press down on the two halves to flatten a little and then fold one half over the other and crimp the edges together, as if making a pasty. Roll it a little to make an oblong shape and place it gently onto a floured tea towel. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave to rise for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220C. Put a small, shallow pan of hot water onto the floor of the oven. Gently roll the dough onto a floured baking tray and, using a very sharp knife, slash it three times diagonally on top.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until it sounds hollow when the base is tapped. Leave to cool on a wire rack.