THE Loaf! Fig Walnut and Blue Cheese Peasant Bread

I get asked a lot at the bakery if I cook.  More specifically if I bake.   "Do I bake!"  I reply.  I look at whomever is asking me, and tell them that James is worthless in a home kitchen.  He doesn't know how to make anything in less than a 180 quart bowl.  A 9x13 inch pan would be a math division nightmare for someone who cooks in quantities like James. But being married to a baker really does have its perks.  My husband makes awesome cupcakes AND lets me take all the credit for them:) And his Honey Whole Wheat bread, still to this day, makes me smile in pure bliss as I take a bite of a BLT made with it.  But being a bakers wife also has its downside.  The main downside is that you quickly become the biggest bread snob on the planet.  I won't even both eating a lot of bread because either it's not fresh enough, tasty enough, or worth the calories.  I only want to eat the tastiest most homemade bread I can find.  And another downfall of being a bakers wife is that I can spot a day old loaf of bread a mile away.  Just the other day I was at a farmers market where some beautiful bread was being sold.  I wanted every loaf, but on closer inspection the bread had been made the day before.  It just didn't have that, "I'm the best loaf on the planet!" feel, or texture anymore.  It's become somewhat of a problem.  

It was the farmers market visit that sparked the idea for the loaf of bread I made at home.   The bakery at the market had used such fun and interesting flavors together.  Fresh raspberry, lemon, and sage.  Strange cheeses and fruit.  Nuts and herbs.  It was so fun!  I wanted some really different flavors in the loaf I was making.  My all time favorite flavors to make are Cranberry Orange and Blueberry Lemon.  I love the little bit of sweetness in my bread.  I also like a lot of chunks.  I purchased a container of dried figs recently and decided to give them a go.  I actually had figs, walnuts, and blue cheese all at the ready.  This indeed was going to be a lovely loaf of bread!

So the actual recipe is one I've made dozens of times, and yet each time I pull it out of the oven, I'm surprised!  I take pictures, I make everyone in the house OOOH, and AHHH before cutting into the loaf, and I make the master bread baker tell me how AWESOME his wife is!!  The figs and walnuts were fantastic.  I'd leave the cheese out all together next time.  But that's just me.  Find the flavor that sounds delish to you, or be as plain as could be.  You won't be disappointed either way.  I love your guts!!  

I Can't Believe I Made This Bread, Bread
recipe from Williams Sonoma

3 c. all purpose flour
1/2 t. (yep only 1/2 t.) yeast
1 3/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c. water (not hot and not cold. Just water)

Add in's of choice: I used 3/4 c. dried figs, 1/2 c. chopped walnuts, and 1/2 c. blue cheese. You can use raisins, cinnamon, any cheese, garlic, herbs, spices, dried fruit, fresh fruit, or stewed tomatoes.  Montreal Steak Seasoning is even great. Let you imagination take you where ever you want to go. Sweet or savory, you decide.

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients together and stir until blended. Only a minute. It doesn't look pretty, but don't worry. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough sit for 12-24 hours. It will rise a little and start to look really wet and bubbly. This is good. I have used the dough as early as 8 hours and as late as 36 hour later. It always works. This is a very forgiving recipe. After the long rest, turn dough out onto a floured surface. Lightly turn the dough onto itself a few times. Don't knead this, your more or less just roughly forming the dough. Let it sit for 20 mins. and rest. In the mean time place a cast iron dutch oven in a 450'F. oven while it is preheating. The pan needs to stay in the hot oven about 20 mins. Take the hot pan out of the oven and place the dough ball in the pan. You don't need any grease, or butter for the pan. The dough will kind of wrinkle up and look terrible, but trust me it will look amazing in about an hour. With a sharp knife cut an X into the top of your dough. This will help it "tear" in a real rustic way. Place the lid on top of the dutch oven and place the pan back in the oven. Bake for 30 mins. at 450'F. with the lid on. Take the lid off and bake another 20 mins. The crust should brown nicely and when you tap the top of the bread it should sound hollow. Remove the bread from the pan and let cool. Yields 1- 1 1/2 lb loaf


  1. Oh yum! I think Santa needs to bring me a dutch oven for Christmas this year. :)

  2. When do you add the "add-in"s? When you mix it or right before you bake it? Thanks!

    1. I add the "add in's" right when I mix the dough at the beginning. You could probably add it at the end as well, but I add them in at the beginning:) Thanks!! Lisa



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