- Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour and let sit for 10 minutes to give the yeast a chance to get going.
- Stir in the honey, oil, and salt.
- Add the flour, a cup at a time, until the dough has formed a shaggy mass.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Knead the dough, adding flour as necessary, to form a smooth and satiny ball.
- Put the dough into a bowl and drizzle with a tablespoon of oil; turn the dough to coat it with the oil.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let the dough rise until it is puffy, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Gently deflate the dough and knead in the walnuts.
- Divide the dough in half and form each half into a ball. Place on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment or greased and sprinkled with cornmeal or semolina flour.
- Cover the loaves with damp towels and let rise until swollen. This will take 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F; the loaves will burn if the oven is too hot.
- Sprinkle flour on top of the loaves, and use a serrated knife to slash a cross in the top of each loaf about 1" deep.
- Bake the loaves for 35-45 minutes, until they are well browned and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom; their internal temperature will measure 190°F on an instant-read thermometer.
- Put the loaves on a rack to cool, and let sit for at least 20 minutes before cutting.
Tips from our Bakers
- It's the day after Thanksgiving (or in our house, a few hours after Thanksgiving dinner), and thoughts turn to overstuffed turkey sandwiches. We like to pile on the turkey, stuffing, relish, and mashed potatoes; the sauce from the creamed onions adds delectable richness and calories. You can mix equal quantities of leftover cranberry relish and mayonnaise to make a pretty and delicious sandwich spread. After all the hedonism of the day before, you have to ease your body back to normal eating habits gradually! This sandwich demands a sturdy bread that won't fall apart when loaded with three inches of filling — our walnut bread is perfect. It also makes terrific toast for breakfast; we enjoy it slathered with butter and honey.