Thursday, April 27, 2006

Pane alle Noci – Italian Walnut Bread Rolls

Bread is one of the most enticing foods that available. Its popularity is more widespread than any other food on the face of the earth. Every culture has some type of bread as a staple in its cuisine and there are few people who will not stop and a take a deep breath when passing near a bakery.

This bread is a fantastic compliment to just about any meal but my favorite combination is with fresh soft cheeses. It may also be used as an appetizer with a mascarpone spread. There are two ways to make this bread. One is to mix the walnuts immediately when combining the liquid and flour. This will result in a darker less sweet roll as some of the walnuts will be reduced to flour, releasing the oils, in the mixing process. I prefer adding the walnuts after the first rise to maintain the nuts intact. Either way this bread is a special treat.


2 cups chopped walnuts
2 packages active dry yeast
1 ¼ cups warm water
3 ¾ cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ olive oil
3 teaspoons salt


Stir the sugar into the warm water and then dissolve the yeast in the water sugar liquid. Allow the yeast to stand for about 10 minutes until a creamy foam develops.

Mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the water-yeast and oil to the flour mixture and stir together. Pour the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. The dough should be slightly elastic and a bit sticky.

Place in an oiled bowl and allow to rise until doubled, about 2 hours.

Place on a lightly floured surface and roll to about 1/8 inch thick. Spread the chopped walnut evenly over the dough. Roll into a log.

Cut the log into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece into a tight ball. Place 6 dough balls onto a baking pan in a circle about 1 inch apart. Repeat for the remaining six balls. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 ½ hours.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the baking pans in the oven and bake for 23-25 minutes. Remove from the pans and allow to cool on a wire rack.


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Anonymous Suanne said...


I wonder if this is a savory bread as I noted that the amount of salt is a bit too much for the amount of flour required.

2:13 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Suanne - Your comment is very astute. Reducing the salt will actually make this a sweet bread much like a potato dinner roll. Raffaella and I prefer, only with bread, to lean toward savory especially when we intend to match with fresh cheeses, such as mascarpone, or very savory dishes (we are really not into sweet stuff at the dinner table).

Additionally if you choose to mix the nuts directly in the water flour phase the taste will tend to bitter. So you will have to try it a couple of times to get to your prefered flavor.

It obviously is a matter of taste and I have tweaked the recipe over time.

2:31 PM

Blogger a.c.t said...

Sounds delicious. To be honest I used to be put off by the idea of walnuts until I tried 'sugo alle nici' (walnut sauce) with pasta and it was amazing. My favourite bread of all time if focaccia which I always have when I'm in Liguria (especially the one with onions or cheese).

5:02 AM

Blogger Peace said...

Wow, looks nice and sound nice. I like walnut bread. Do you dip it in Olive oil when u eat it? I like to dip in Olive oil :P I only know how to eat, don't know how to bake :P

8:55 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

ACT - ah Focaccia... Raffaella asks me to make a Focaccia with onions on a regular basis...

Peace - with oil, without oil, I love bread. More often then not our bread never cools still intact. I make bread regularily.

11:33 AM


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