Pistachio & Walnut Braided Loaf

I was sent some delicious pistachio paste from http://www.thenutkitchen.com and started to think of some different ways to use it.  This fantastic aromatic and delicious loaf is one fab way to try it.

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Ingredients:
– 500g Strong white flour
– 10g Fast acting dried yeast
– 3 Tbsp. Pistachio paste
– 300g Stilton
– 15ml Olive oil
– 5g Salt
– 600-700ml cold water

Special Equipment:
Stand mixer with dough hook (optional but handy)

Method:

Step 1 – The mix
Preheat a fan oven to 200 degrees.  Place the strong white flour in a large bowl.  Place the yeast on one side of the flour and salt on the other.  Add the olive oil, pistachio paste and start to mix into the flour.  Slowly add the water until the dough comes together (you may need more or less depending on the flour).

Step 2 – The knead
I use a stand mixer for kneading but if you don’t have one, or prefer to knead by hand, then feel free to do whatever suits you best.  Knead for 10-15 minuted until you have a smooth elastic dough.

Step 3 – The first prove
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow to prove for 1-2 hours until at least doubled in size.

Step 4 – Cheese it up
Crumble the stilton and place 50g to one side for later.  Tip the dough out onto a clean work surface and knock it back.  Add the crumbled stilton and gently fold the dough over and gently knead until it is combined.

Step 5 – The plait and second prove
Split the dough into 3 equal parts and roll each part out to form a long cylinder around 30-40cm long.  On a lined baking tray, plait the 3 strands together to form a braided loaf.  Cover and leave to prove for 1-2 hours until risen.

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Step 6 – The bake
Sprinkle the remaining stilton over the risen loaf and bake for 30 mins or until golden and the bottom is hollow to the tap.

Step 7 – The cool (and then eat)
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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