Cooking Eorzea Week 24: Walnut Bread

Friday, July 1st, 2022

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Cooking Eorzea | Feature Image

It’s funny how much I had grown to love cooking. After travelling back to the East Coast for two weekends in a row and having company from Seattle visit me, cooking fell to the wayside and I barely did anything involving it. And surprisingly? I honestly missed it. There is something very familiar to gathering together ingredients, reading through the recipe, and plotting on how I am going to make a different dish every week.

Cooking Eorzea has become surprisingly important to me, even beyond it being a way to help me cope with being broken up with and being in California. I genuinely like making things with my own hands and then serving them to people I like. I am starting to close in on the half-way point of this column series, and I am going to be very sad when Cooking Eorzea is finished.

Thankfully, I am nowhere close to that point yet! And if you’ve stuck around with me for this long…thank you. Seriously. I mean it.

If you’ve missed an installment of Cooking Eorzea, you can check out all the prior recipes here.

Recipe of the Week

For this week’s Cooking Eorzea, I made the 27th recipe: Walnut Bread. Coming out of the Black Shroud region of Eorzea with a ‘Medium’ rating, I was excited to make the final bread recipe of The Ultimate FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Cookbook.  Here is what it’s supposed to look like!

Cooking Eorzea | Walnut Bread Professional Photo

Image courtesy of Insight Editions.

Featured Ingredient of the Week

Cooking Eorzea | Maple Cream

Photo by author.

This week’s Cooking Eorzea Featured Ingredient of the Week is…Maple Cream! This ingredient is made from maple syrup that is heated up, then cooled down and beaten until it is smooth. It was surprisingly thick, and was actually creamy (like the name), though I had to stir it quite a bit when I first opened it before I could use it.

My Cooking Attempt

For my first Cooking Eorzea attempt in a couple of weeks, let’s take a look at the ingredients that I ended up using for Walnut Bread:

Cooking Eorzea | Walnut Bread Ingredients

Photo by author.

The first thing I did was to take a stick of butter and place it in a microwavable-safe bowl to melt down. Instead of burning my hand like I did a few weeks ago, I left it ALONE in the microwave for a while after it was done to cool down.

Cooking Eorzea | Melting butter.

Photo by author.

While the butter cooled, I turned my attention to the walnuts. I turned the stovetop to medium-hot and added the walnuts to the pan to toast.

Cooking Eorzea | Toasting Walnuts.

Photo by author.

Once the walnuts were toasted, I added them to my spice blender, and I attempted to grind them out. However, the grinder started to overheat, and I ended up having scrape what was blended out of the blender before I ruined it.

Cooking Eorzea | Blending walnuts.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Failing to blend walnuts.

I got out my industrial-sized blender, and I dumped all of the walnuts into it and I had to blend repeatedly to get all the walnuts grounded up.

Cooking Eorzea | Walnuts in a blender.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Ground-up walnuts.

I then picked through the ground-up walnuts in the blender, pulled out the individual chunks still in there, and ground them up in the spice blender. The below picture is the final grounded walnuts.

Cooking Eorzea | Whole walnuts in spice blender.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Finished blended walnuts.

I then added the bread flour, the salt, and the sugar together in a bowl with the ground walnuts…

Cooking Eorzea | Adding the bread flour, salt, sugar, and ground walnuts together.

Photo by author.

…And I blended it all together with a slotted spoon.

Cooking Eorzea | Blending the dry ingredients together.

Photo by author.

In a separate bowl, I combined lukewarm water with the yeast, and I blended it all together.

Cooking Eorzea | Blending the water and yeast together.

Photo by author.

I then added in the maple cream and the melted butter.

Cooking Eorzea | Addfing in maple cream.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Adding in melted butter.

I then whisked all of the wet ingredients together.

Cooking Eorzea | Whisking wet ingredients together.

Photo by author.

I then added half of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and I blended it all together.

Cooking Eorzea | Blending half of the dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

Photo by author.

Once that was blended, I added in the rest of the dry ingredients, tried to whisk it together, failed, and I started to blend the dough together by hand in the bowl.

Cooking Eorzea | Adding in the rest of the dry ingredients.

Photo by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Mixing the dough by hand.

I moved the dough to my silicone mat and I kneaded it for five minutes. The yeast had clearly started to activate, as the dough was very stretchy and was clearly (somewhat) growing as I worked it with my hands. As I kneaded the bread, I kept picking out small fragments of walnut that was never quite grounded fully down.

Cooking Eorzea | Kneading dough.

Photo by author.

I then greased a bowl with olive oil, added the dough to the bowl, covered it, and let it rest and grow for the next two hours.

Cooking Eorzea | Spreading olive oil on a bowl.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Letting the walnut bread dough rest.

After two hours, the walnut bread dough had definitely grown.

Cooking Eorzea | Risen walnut bread dough.

Photo by author.

I put the dough onto the silicone mat again, and I punched it before kneading it for a few minutes.

Cooking Eorzea | Punching the dough.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Kneading the dough again.

I then coated the loaf pan with olive oil, rolled the dough into a loaf roll that would fit the pan, and placed said walnut bread dough roll into the loaf pan.

Cooking Eorzea | Coating the bread pan with olive oil.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Placing the loaf roll into the loaf pan.

I then covered the loaf pan with a kitchen towel, and left the walnut bread dough to rise for an hour.

Cooking Eorzea | Letting the walnut bread dough loaf rise.

Photo by author.

While the dough was rising again, I preheated the oven.

Cooking Eorzea | Preheating the oven.

Photo by author.

After an hour had elapsed, I lifted the kitchen towel off of the filled bread pan.

Cooking Eorzea | Risen bread in the bread pan.

Photo by author.

I placed the bread pan in the oven for 25 minutes, and then pulled it out and covered it with aluminum foil so that I could place it back in the oven again without burning the walnut bread crust.

Cooking Eorzea | Baking the uncovered bread.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Covering the bread pan in aluminum foil.

After letting it bake for another 25 minutes, I pulled it out and measured the temperature of the bread. Unfortunately, it was too low, so I stuck it back in the oven. I had to repeat this process two more times.

Cooking Eorzea | Measuring the bread temperature.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Placing the covered bread back into the oven.

Finally, the bread came out at the correct temperature, and I placed it on a cooling rack for an hour.

Cooking Eorzea | The walnut bread at the correct temperature.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Walnut bread cooling on the rack.

And here is the final Walnut Bread dish for this week’s Cooking Eorzea!

Cooking Eorzea | Final Walnut Bread Dish.

Photo by author.

After taking this photo, I sampled the (still warm) Walnut Bread. And honestly? I was quite surprised that I didn’t really taste the walnuts or the maple cream. It was a very good bread, don’t get me wrong, but I was surprised at how the unique flavors didn’t really come through in the bread. It was also quite heavy, which was to be expected with the ground walnuts and the bread flour.

Afterword

I am making this recipe again as an ingredient for next week’s Cooking Eorzea column! When I make it again, I definitely am going to work on grinding down all of the walnuts in the blender from the get-go, and I will definitely leave it in the oven longer after I cover it with aluminum foil, so I don’t have to keep pulling it out and putting it back in again. I am excited to see how round two turns out of it!

This is where I start with the ‘thank yous’ every week. I want to thank Victoria Rosenthal for writing The Ultimate FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Cookbook. I also want to thank the staff over at Insight Editions for giving me permission to use the photos from their book to show how these recipes are actually supposed to look. Furthermore, I owe Brandon Rose a special thanks for creating the logo for this series on short notice. You should check him and his works out over on Twitter.

Finally, I want to thank both Hiromichi Tanaka and Naoki Yoshida for producing FINAL FANTASY XIV Online in both iterations of the game.

Next Week

Next week’s Cooking Eorzea recipe is La Noscean Toast, in which I integrate the Walnut Bread recipe into making! I am excited to try making this Walnut Bread recipe again, so please be sure to turn in next week to see how it turns out!



Have you ever had issues grinding up walnuts? What do you think of maple cream?

Let us know in the comments below!

About Quentin H.

I have been a journalist for oprainfall since 2015, and I have loved every moment of it. Do you want to do an interview? You can reach me at interviews@oprainfall.com