Are You Nuts?!
Spiced Nut Plait
The Gents love a nice slice for breakfast and we also love a bit of spice, so we thought we have a go at a sweetened loaf packed with nutty goodness and warming winter spices.
The Gents are a perfectly balanced pair. One a lover of recipes and accuracy, the other a little more... experimental. This recipe is very much the domain of the latter! Loosely based on a scaled down version of Paul Hollywood's Cob Loaf, this loaf starts life with the standard mix of strong flour, salt, yeast and water. We've used a 75%/25% ratio of strong white to rye. Normally we'd reduce the water content with rye as it doesn't absorb quite as much, but instead we've added ground almonds.
Next to the mix are the spices, two teaspoons of mixed spice and two teaspoons of cinnamon. The Gents love the fragrance and flavour of all sorts of spices and they should definitely be used with care, but in this case we say "go heavy or go home"! Turn out on a lightly floured work surface and give the dough a good knead then set aside to proof.
Once this rich brown dough has doubled in size it's time to add the nuts. Roll out the dough into a rough rectangle and sprinkle generously with chopped walnuts and hazelnuts. Press them down into the dough before rolling up tightly and giving a brief knead to incorporate the nuts. Don't worry is a few fall out of the dough as you can just poke them back in.
For this loaf we've opted for a five strand plait so start by weighing out your dough and dividing evenly and roll out into strands. The length will be determined by the tray of pan you'll be baking in. Join one end of your strands together and fan the strand out in front of you, three to one side and two to the other. Simply take the outer of the three strands and put it on the inside of the two strands. Now you've reversed your stands, repeat until you've run out of dough. Join the ends and tuck both ends under.
After a second proof give your now risen dough a light egg wash and top with more chopped hazelnuts and a little crunchy demerera sugar, then bake in a hot oven. Do watch that you don't over do it on the cooking time. We'd be the first to admit that our attempt was a little bit 'well done'! Try not to eat it all before breakfast.