Walnut loaf with honey and oatmeal

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1. Mix the flour, oatmeal, yeast, salt, sugar and nuts in a large mixing bowl. Mix the butter, milk, water and honey and stir until the honey has dissolved. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with your hands until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a clean surface and knead vigorously for about 5–10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a neat ball and place in a clean mixing bowl greased with a little olive oil. Let the bowl stand in a warm place so the dough rises to double the volume. The oatmeal, bran and nuts make the dough ‘heavy’, so it will take a few hours. Be patient, or you’ll end up with a dense loaf. 

2. Knead the dough as soon as it has doubled in volume; divide in half and shape each half into an oval-shaped loaf. Place on a greased baking tray and cover with a clean tea towel. Allow to rise again until double the volume – this time it will take between 30–45 minutes. 

3. Preheat the oven to 180°C and place a deep metal oven dish in the bottom of it to warm up. Using a sharp knife, score the top of each loaf diagonally. Place the loaves on the middle oven rack; pour boiling water into the oven dish at the bottom (the water makes steam which helps the loaves to form a nice crust). Close the oven door immediately and bake the loaves for about 30 minutes or until cooked and risen – they should sound hollow when you tap on the bottom. 

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