Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread with Golden Raisins and Toasted Pecans

We ate so much of the onion board last night, that I just had to make real bread. Not that this will surprise any of my readers or bread baking fanatics. I knew I did not have tons of time so I decided to make a straight dough, or one without a pre-ferment. I have made this bread in the past, but the last time I tried to adjust it so that I could use a poolish and I replaced the raisins with cranberries and it did not come out so well. So, this time I decided to just follow the formula, and the results are looking good.

This is a bread which the flour water salt and yeast on first and second speed until the proper gluten structure is achieved. Then you add the nuts and raisins and mix on first speed just until the ingredients are spread throughout the dough. I always a small amount of dough away from the hook and add a handful of nuts and then mix for twenty seconds and then repeat this a second time with the remaining nuts. Then pull the dough away again and add the raisins, then mix until the raisins are incorporated. Then begin the bulk fermentation. In the case with this bread. Ferment sixty minutes and then fold and ferments an additional 60 minutes. Pre shape round or oblong. Proof for thirty minutes and bake in a hot oven.

I have also made this bread with raisins but never with golden raisins, I saw them last week and just had to pick them up. I noticed that Jeffrey Hamelman uses golden raisins as opposed to california raisins (not that golden raisins are not from California). I am not sure why, but it is worth a try. Now that I am getting closer to my goal, I think that I will start making adaptions to the recipes to make them more my own. There is a wonderful rye sourdough with walnuts and I think it would also be nice with pecans, or if I am feeling thrifty hazelnuts or macadamia nuts. I wonder how cashews would fair in a bread, I can not imagine it being terrible. I did recently see a baker who made a cocoa bread with cranberries, I think a little cashews and a small amount of coconut would go fabulous in that bread (in place of the cranberries).

Just a little story about my baking expereince with Pecans:

When I was a culinary student working towards by AS I took a bread class on the side. To say the least it changed my life. Anyways, one of our class projects was to design a bread and to bake it every week and to make adjustments each time until we had our gold standard. We made a whole wheat pecan bread. It was 20% pecans by weight and the poolish was made from whole wheat flour rather than bread flour. It was really a unique bread. I know this loaf will remind me of that 'Pan de Pecan'. It is always great to take a trek down culinary memory lane. The smell of toasting pecans always gets me excited and reminds me of that fabulous loaf.

Here is the bread before the bake:

And the final product:

Note: I forgot to turn the oven down by twenty degrees after the first fifteen minutes of the bake. Needless to say, the raisins look a little charred, but this is one of my best shaped boules thus far. I am pleased and excited to try it tonight.

-It is marvelous! I will include a picture of a slice. The golden raisins really make all the difference in the world. Great chew, yet the crust is crisp. I give this loaf an 9/10. Another go to bread for sure. I will try this one with dried cranberries next!


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