These hearty oval-shaped breads are delicious served with the slightly sweet Cranberry-Studded Whipped Butter (page 111). We used Guinness for the dough, but you can substitute another dark beer, such as Newcastle Brown Ale, if desired.
Combine raisins and 1 cup boiling water in a small bowl; let stand 10 minutes. Drain and reserve raisins.
Combine warm water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon honey in a bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly. Add remaining 1/4 cup honey and beer; mix well.
Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 3 cups all-purpose flour, rye flour, and salt in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Add yeast mixture to flour mixture, stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 7 minutes); add enough of the remaining all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky). Flatten dough; top with raisins and walnuts. Fold over dough sides to cover; knead until raisins and walnuts are well distributed. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 1/4 hours or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)
Punch dough down; turn out onto a floured surface. Knead 1 minute; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Roll each half into an 8-inch-long football shape. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 450°.
Uncover dough, and make 3 (1/4-inch-deep) diagonal cuts across top of each loaf using a sharp knife. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° (do not remove loaves from oven); bake the loaves for 30 minutes or until browned on bottom and sound hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack 30 minutes before slicing.
I love this recipe! I made it today and it's hard not to eat an entire loaf! It was very moist and has great texture. This is a keeper!!