Monday, March 29, 2010

Pecan Raisin Bread

My new issue of Bon Appetit came in the mail a couple of days ago and I came across this recipe adapted from Del Vecchio's Bakery. It was supposed to be Raisin, Walnut & Pecan Bread - but I didn't have walnuts, I did add a pinch of ground cardamom & cinnamon though, which made it really fragrant and snazzy. This is one of those breads that takes some planning though. As in, I started it before breakfast & it came out of the oven in time for a late dessert. But it was perfect for breakfast this morning, toasted & dripping with butter. Bread freaks of the world unite! This one is a keeper!!! Here's the recipe:

2 C. warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 1/2 Tbs. Active dry yeast or 3 1/4 oz. envelopes
1/4 C. vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
2 1/2 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. salt
5 1/2 C. Bread Flour
2 C. raisins
1/2 C. Chopped Pecans + 1/2 C. chopped walnuts (or whatever - see pecan note above)
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
You really should consider the cinnamon & cardamom - a pinch of each, or more if you like

Mix water & yeast in a lg. bowl. Leave it for a bit - 10 minutes or so - till yeast dissolves & gets a bit foamy.
Stir in oil, sugar & salt.
Add the flour and stir together until "a shaggy dough forms" - that's what the recipe said & it does look a little scrappy at this stage.
Transfer to your flour dusted counter and knead for about 8 minutes till soft but not sticky.
Add raisins, nuts, etc & knead to blend. This was pretty strange, actually because it seems like it's never going to mix together. But it does. Especially after it raises.
Brush a large bowl with oil, plop in the dough, rub it around a bit, cover and refrigerate overnight - or in my case, I waited 8 hours. This also seemed counter intuitive - the bread recipes I've been making lately always raise on the counter. But I obeyed anyway, and it worked.
The recipe says to line a baking sheet with parchment, (which I never have, so I didn't - but if you have it, be my guest) and then shape the dough into 2 6 inch rounds and let rise in a warm place for two hours.
Preheat oven to 350 and then bake bread for about 45 minutes till it sounds hollow when you tap on it. Cool completely (or as completely as you can) before slicing.
You're gonna love this one!

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