Date and walnut rye bread

Date and walnut rye bread. Photograph: Harry Weir Photography

Date and walnut rye bread. Photograph: Harry Weir Photography

Sat, Apr 10, 2021, 05:55

  • Serves: 8
  • Cooking Time: 180 mins
  • Course: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Irish


  • 625g strong white flour
  • 200g white or medium rye flour
  • 20g fine salt
  • 14g, or two sachets, dried yeast
  • 500ml tepid water
  • 75g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 75g pitted dates, roughly chopped


1 Mix the strong flour and the rye flour together in a large bowl, or in a stand mixer if using, and add the salt.

2 Measure the water into a measuring jug and check to ensure it is tepid by putting your finger into the water, it should be neither hot nor cold. This is crucial for the yeast to activate properly.

3 Sprinkle the yeast into the jug, mix to combine using a whisk or fork and leave to sit for two to three minutes.

4 If using the stand mixer, attach the dough hook and start to mix the flour and salt. Pour in the water and continue to mix on a low speed for five minutes. Increase to a medium speed and continue to mix for another 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

5 If making by hand, mix the flour and salt in a bowl and pour the water into the middle, slowly bringing the flour into the centre. Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 15 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth and elastic.

6 Put the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.

7 Scrape the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knock the dough a few times with your fist. Add the chopped walnuts and dates to the dough and work them into the dough until they are evenly dispersed throughout.

8 Preheat the oven to the highest setting if using a conventional oven, or 220 degrees if using a fan oven.

9 Shape the dough into a rustic loaf shape and place on a lightly greased tray. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.

10 Place a deep baking tray filled with water in the bottom of the oven. This helps to create steam and will give the loaf a beautiful colour and crust.

11 Dust the loaf with flour, cut a slit down the centre using a sharp knife, and bake for about 10 minutes, before reducing the temperature to 220 degrees, or 200 fan, and baking for a further 30 minutes. Remove the loaf from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.