Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Stress relieving baking: Walnut and raisin bread

There are some things in life that can cause considerable amounts of stress.

Moving house.

Having a baby.

Starting a new job.

And watching Wales play rugby.

Last Sunday, as Wales took on the might of the South Africans in the Rugby World Cup an entire nation spent eighty minutes experiencing insurmountable levels of stress. It was a heck of a game. A game spent alternating between despair and (almost) glory. Cardiac arrhythmias unknown to the medical profession were noted. 2.94 millions people experienced breathing difficulties holding their breath in anticipation as James Hook attempted the penalties

There are three ways to cope with such stress. 

Gin. Chocolate. And kneading bread.

This particular loaf requires some muscle to knead. But it is worth it. And a great stress-reliever to boot. 

What bakes do you make to relieve stress? Answers on a postcard please. Or the comments section below would be lovely too.

Walnut and Raisin Bread


175g strong wholemeal flour
175g strong white bread flour
115g wholemeal rye flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fast acting dried yeast
115g walnuts, toasted and chopped
80g raisins
2 tablespoons walnut oil
1 tablespoon runny honey
325ml hand hot water

1. Grease a baking sheet
2. Combine the flours, yeast, salt, walnuts and raisins in  a large mixing bowl
3. Stir in the oil, honey and water
4. Mix, initally with a knife then your hands to a soft dough
5. Turn out onto an unfloured work surface and knead for 5-6 minutes until smooth
6. Shape into  an oblong, roughly 18cm in size, and using a sharp knife make a cut along the the length
7. Dust with rye flour
8. Cover and prove in a warm place until doubled in size
9. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200C/400F
10. Bake for 20-25 minutes

Baker's notes...
  • If you haven't walnut oil to hand, olive oil works just as well
  • To toast the walnuts, fry them gently in a dry frying pan for a few minutes until golden brown, like this:

  • Super-yummy with cheese, like this:

  • I've had a name change! Yep, the blog previously known as Kate's Cakes and Bakes is now here- it was demanded of me; email me and I'll tell you for why!


  1. Oh dear, I did feel sorry for the Welsh team (especially because there were so many fans in town the day of the match and one of them gave my little girl a Welsh flag, which she was SO excited about). Nasty South Africans! (Apologies to any SA readers of your blog, but it was very unfair!)
    Hope you have recovered from the epic cycle; has the puddings book turned up yet?

  2. They were robbed Kate ~ they were clearly the better team and I REALLY felt for them.....on the other hand, your bread looks FAB!I am a big bread fan, with cheese and wine!

  3. Ah, thank you for the support KitchenMaid- we were all very disappointed over here. Lovely to hear your daughter loved her Welsh flag! Will she be supporting us this weekend?

    Karen- I agree (surprisingly!): they were robbed!!

  4. hi I have just started baking bread and am loving it. Your bread looks great. Would love to hear why name of blog changed hopefully will chat soon x

  5. One can never have too many cookbooks or too many delicious blogs to visit!! Thanks for stopping by and introducing yourself.


  6. The bread looks yummy! Enjoy...

  7. I'll have some of that with a large mug of tea ;-)
    What lead you to the new blog name?

  8. I love make bread is the best I think!! and good for stress! LOL This look amazing! gloria

  9. I know nothing of rugby except once I chatted to Jonah Lomu in a lift and I had NO blinking idea who he was! True story. Saying that though, I do know something about baking and breads and your walnut raisin loaf looks marvelous. When I'm stressed I make donuts or cinnamon rolls...bad, bad for my body but good for relieving tensions!


Thank you very much for your comment- I appreciate every single one of them!