Saturday, 11 June 2011

Roasted Hazelnut and Prune Bread

If we learn anything today, let it be this - prunes are awesome.

What's with the maligning of prunes? I don't get it either.

Now marketers feel that they have to label them as "dried plums", to distance themselves from the old fashioned notion that prunes are for old people. Also that they help with motility. 'Nuff said.

They taste great, much better than their tiny cousins the raisins, are full of fibre and natural goodness, and lend a lovely sweetness to whatever dish they grace. Or bread, for that matter.

And, like all dried fruits, they go wonderfully with nuts. In this case hazelnuts.

Go ahead and peel your hazelnuts for this bread if you wish, but I am of the philosophy that life is too short to peel a hazelnut. Besides, who decided that the peels were unsightly? Leave 'em be, I say. Now let's get baking!

Roasted Hazelnut and Prune Bread
adapted from Bread, Jeffrey Hamelman
for the Mellow Bakers

The night before:

Bread flour - 6.4 oz
Water - 3.8 oz
Mature sourdough starter - 1.3 oz

Mix the levain ingredients together in a medium bowl, add a few drops of water if needed to bring the dough together. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest overnight. (About 12 hours)

The next day:

Bread flour - 1 .b, 1.6 oz
Whole wheat flour - 8 oz
Water - 1 lb, 1.3 oz
Soft butter, or olive oil - 1.6 oz
Salt - 1 Tbsp
Instant dry yeast - 1½ tsp
Levain - all

Hazelnuts, roasted - 1 cup
Prunes, dry, coarsely chopped - 1 cup

Add everything but the nuts and fruit to your stand mixer bowl, breaking the levain into chunks as you add it. Mix with the dough hook on low for 3 minutes until incorporated.
Mix on medium speed for another 3 minutes to build strength, adjusting flour/water if necessary. Add the fruit and nuts and continue mixing until incorporated into dough.
Empty dough out onto lightly floured workspace and knead into a ball.
Let rise, covered, 1½ hours.
Divide dough into two, and shape into French loaves.
Let rise, in French loaf forms or on a silpat, for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 440°F.
Score and bake at 440°F for 15 minutes.
Rotate pan and lower temperature to 420°F, bake another 10-15 minutes or until you get a nice dark crust and an internal temperature of over 200°F. (Longer if you shape into rounds)
Let cool on racks.

*Note - water used for baking bread should be left out overnight to let the chlorine dissipate.
This bread has been Yeastspotted!