From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...At this time of year you can be sure of at least two things, the sun and any bread you chose to make will rise. While you can't control the sun, the bread is completely in your hands, and the heat of the summer kitchen will produce gorgeous high-rising loaves that you will be proud to serve. I've wanted to make this bread for a while now and the promise of a warm day and a block of time that would allow me to give it a try converged today. This is an interesting bread whose origins are unclear. A local bakery which makes a bread similar to this, insists it is Sicilian, but others attribute it to the tapas culture of Spain. This dry, firm bread has a near perfect crust and the mellowed tones of fennel and orange make it a wonderful base for sharp cheese and thinly sliced ham. It is also terrific with a simple schmear of cream cheese and plum jam. While the bread is not hard to make, it goes through 3 risings and that may impose problems for those of you working on tight kitchen schedules. This is a lovely bread that I hope you'll have time to try. Here is how it's made.
Whole Wheat, Fig and Hazelnut Bread...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Apple Pie, Patis and Pate
2-1/2 cups whole wheat flour, divided use
2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided use
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 cups water, at room temperature
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
Finely grated zest of 1 medium orange
2/3 cup whole hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed, and cooled
2/3 cup dried figs, stems removed, quartered
1) Whisk 2 cups each of wholewheat and unbleached flours together with salt and yeast in bowl of an electric stand mixer. Add water. Mix, using a dough hook until a rough dough forms and flour is moistened.
2) Increase mixer speed to medium-low, and knead for 6 to 8 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Add reserved flour as needed to make a moderately stiff dough that is no longer sticky and clears side of bowl.
3) Add fennel seeds, rosemary and orange zest, and knead on low speed until evenly distributed. Add hazelnuts and figs, and mix just until integrated into dough.
4) Turn dough out onto a work surface and knead until hazelnuts and figs are evenly incorporated, dusting with flour only as needed to prevent sticking. Transfer dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.
5) Remove plastic wrap and, in bowl, using a broad nonstick spatula, fold dough over itself, as though you were folding a letter: 1/3 over center, then opposite 1/3 over that. Lastly, fold dough in half again, perpendicular to the first folds (like you’re folding the letter in half), creating a square shape. If you prefer, dough can be removed from bowl and folded on a flat surface and then placed back in bowl to finish rising.
6) Replace plastic wrap, and let dough rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size again, about 45 to 60 minutes more.
7) Turn dough out onto a lightly-floured work surface, and gently press to deflate. Divide dough into two equal halves, and shape each into a round ball. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rest 10 minutes. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment. Transfer each loaf to baking sheet, seam side down. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature for 45 to 60 minutes, or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
8) Using a sharp serrated knife make a slash lengthwise along top of each loaf. Spray or sprinkle dough with water, and transfer to oven. Bake, opening door every 2 minutes to spray with water, for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 425 degrees F and bake for about 30 minutes more, or until deep golden brown, and a thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads 200 degrees F. Remove loaves to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Yield: 2 loaves.
One Year Ago Today: Two Years Ago Today:Weekly Menu 8-25-13 Orzo Salad
Three Years Ago Today: Four Years Ago Today:Scandinavian Shrimp Salad Chapatis and Pooris