Prevent your screen from going dark as you follow along.
  1. Dissolve the yeast in the water. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Add 1/2 cup (60g) of all-purpose flour and let sit for 10 minutes to give the yeast a chance to get going.

  2. Stir in the honey, oil, and salt.

  3. Add the remaining 5 1/2 cups (660g) flour, 1 cup (120g) at a time, until the dough has formed a shaggy mass.

  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Knead the dough, adding flour as necessary, to form a smooth and satiny ball.

  5. Put the dough into a bowl and drizzle with a tablespoon of oil; turn the dough to coat it with the oil.

  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let the dough rise until it is puffy, about 1 1/2 hours.

  7. Gently deflate the dough and knead in the walnuts.

  8. 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.

  9. Cover the loaves with damp towels and let rise until swollen. This will take 30-45 minutes.

  10. Preheat the oven to 350°F; the loaves will burn if the oven is too hot.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.