SWEDISH APRICOT WALNUT BREAD

 

March 10, 2015

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I have to say that I'd forgotten how much I respect the process of making bread by hand (and the Kitchen Aid), and I'm so thankful to be part of the Alpha Bakers so that I can rediscover it again. When we were in France, the bread was unspeakably good. Every morning, Rick and I bought ourselves nut breads or bagette, a few pastries with one or two different cheeses, and headed directly for the nearest bench, where were quietly ate our breakfast and watched people pass by. There the breads are so delicious, and the reason is they allow the dough to mature and develop flavour and structure. The boulangers don't rush the process by forcing the rise in overly warm environments. Instead they give it a couple of days to rise at room temperature and then when they bake it, the aromas make you ache for the pleasure of it all. This bread reminds me of France (even though it's Swedish) because it's all about letting the flavours develop. For me, this is a perfect bread for breakfast, toasted with artisan cream cheese.

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Instructions

THE BIGA

  • Now that I had a feel for the biga from the Panettone, I put it together without hesitation. When I went shopping for course rye flour, the best I could come up with was light or dark rye. I chose the dark rye. Everything seemed to go together easily; it rose nicely; and it sat in the fridge for 3 days.

Biga with rye.
Biga with rye.

BREAD DOUGH

  • When it came time to put the dough together, I weighed the biga (thinking I didn’t want to put too much) and found that I didn’t have 4.8 ounces. I only had 4.1! I wonder why, since I had measured the biga as instructed. Did the yeast eat up some of the flour? Any insight on this would be appreciated.
  • What I don’t understand is the yeast measurement for the dough: ¾ tsp minus 1/16? First of all, my scale doesn't measure in fractions of a gram, so I rounded up to 3 grams of yeast. Still, do fractions of a gram really matter when dealing with yeast in such small amounts? Again, any insight into this would also be appreciated.
  • Besides that, my dough turned out just as the recipe suggested. It was very elastic, sticky and smooth. I really like this part of making bread.

The beautiful dough sticky and smooth.
The beautiful dough sticky and smooth.

  • All in all, I let the flavours develop as much possible, as rye flour needs time to mellow. When it came time to add the nuts and fruit, the dough hook didn’t work at all, so I kneaded them in by hand,

Incorporating the nuts and raisins.
Incorporating the nuts and raisins.

  • After the first rise

After it doubled in size the first time.
After it doubled in size the first time.

  • Then I gave it a four-sided stretch and returned it to its warm place for another rise.

The dough folded after the four-sided stretch.
The dough folded after the four-sided stretch.

  • then l let it double in size, knocked it down, and set it back in the fridge overnight (anybody remember a movie called The Blob? My fridge was still there in the morning!)

SHAPE THE BREAD DOUGH AND LET IT RISE

  • By this time the dough felt quite dense, especially when it was cold and very elastic and supple when it warmed up. I shaped the dough and added the apricots,

Readying the apricots for the final roll.
Readying the apricots for the final roll.

  • rolled it up

Folding in the apricots.
Folding in the apricots.

  • Measured it and set it on the tray for one final rise.
  • Then I took the dog for some much needed exercise.

The final shaping.
The final shaping.

BAKING THE BREAD

  • It didn’t slash very well and I forgot to mist it with water before I set it in the oven (on the stone, in the lowest part of the oven, over the cast iron pan with freshly tossed ice cubes). It baked happily and when the temperature hit 205 or so, I took it out.

Just out of the oven. Swedish Apricot Walnut Bread The Finer Cookie
Just out of the oven. Swedish Apricot Walnut Bread The Finer Cookie

TASTING AND FINAL ASSESSMENT

  • I could really taste the ripening of the biga and the depth of flavour. It had developed a slight tang, which was beautifully balanced by the sweetness of the apricot. The texture was quite chewy and I am not sure if this was correct. When I compare Rose’s picture with mine, her bread seems a little bit more open than mine. Still it was very good and a nice respite from the constant sweetness.

Swedish Apricot Walnut Bread, The Finer Cookie.
Swedish Apricot Walnut Bread, The Finer Cookie.

  • Disclaimer: No recipes can be shared in my Alpha Bakers posts due to publishing restrictions enforced by the publisher, but please support me and Rose Levy Beranbaum by purchasing The Baking Bible . You can check out the work of the other Alpha Bakers at http://rosesalphabakers.blogspot.ca/.
TAGS:  BAKING BIBLE   bread       LABELS: Alpha Bakers 

Comments

9 Comments

Lisa   2017-01-08

This looks absolutely delish!

Kimberlie 2017-01-08

Thanks Lisa. You should try the recipe. It is delicious!

Chef TonyB   2017-01-08

Kimberlie, Your bread looks amazing! Great presentation and instructions. Thank you for sharing your experiences in France as well! I did the same in Italy.....I did have difficulty with the 3/4 teaspoon minus 1/16th yeast measure as well. I tried to measure by grams but my scale wouldn't even register the small amounts which I found odd. After several attempts, I simply just poured the yeast into a small glass bowl and transferred 3/4 teaspoons into my mise cup and then "guesstimated" what 1/16th teaspoon would be and took that out. Since then I have purchased a measuring spoon set that has a 1/8th teaspoon measure. This way the 1/16th future measures will not be as difficult. Happy Baking!

Kimberlie 2017-01-08

Hi Tony. Europe never disappoints, especially when you're a bread lover. And about the yeast...????? Help me understand!

Mendy   2017-01-08

Great description of the spirit of bread making. Your bread turned out really lovely.

Kimberlie 2017-01-08

Thanks Mendy. Making bread is a beautiful thing

Catherine   2017-01-08

I had the same problem with the fruit not mixing in, very annoying. Your bread looks very successful. I think I should have left mine to proof longer.

Kimberlie 2017-01-08

Didn't it seem odd that the fruit wouldn't incorporate in the mixer? I wonder why.

Glori   2017-01-08

Loved your first paragraph, makes me wish I was in France to take in all I can about baking bread. Really nice post and pics.

Kimberlie 2017-01-08

Thank you Glori. France is a beautiful country.

Monica Caretto   2017-01-08

Mine final product looked like yours, I too question why it did not look as open as Rose's picture in the book... it was cooked, but the inside were quite compact. And mine also did not proof as much as I thought it would, specially on the last one before baking. So my end product was quite compac, it never reached the 2.5 inches high as noted in the directions. Not one of my favorite. We will eat it, I smoother mine with goat cheese and some honey, but I could not shake a taste that I just could not quite put my finger on. Beautiful pictures :)

Kimberlie 2017-01-08

Could it be the rye you didn't like? My rising times were very different than Rose's. I just let it sit all afternoon doing its thing. Eventually the yeast woke up. Thanks for your comment! Will go check out your post!

faithy   2017-01-08

You always take such beautiful photos! I have to ask you for photography tips..all the aperture and how to calculate and all gives me a headache...LOL! I love how white your bread looks! Mine is like dark grey!

Kimberlie 2017-01-08

I should post the photo I took of our set-up. It really wasn't too much, but thank you just the same.

Michele   2017-01-08

Kim--such a great blog post! I am enamored with this bread! It didn't last nearly long enough. I can't wait to make more. Mine didn't rise very high, but it was so good, I was was ready to pick up crumbs from the bread board. I agree--it was a nice change from all the sweets, although I do love desserts!

Kimberlie 2017-01-08

Thank you Michele

Vicki   2017-01-08

Great pictures! How long did you let it warm up after the overnight rest? Mine was still so cold after almost two hours. I think I would have gotten better crumb had I either let it get really warm or not let it rest overnight in the frig. I would have liked to know what temperature with an instant read it should have been.

Kimberlie 2017-01-08

Hi Vicki, It took quite a while to warm up, though I can't remember exactly how long. Overall, my rising times went way beyond what Rose recommended. It took hours just to double in size. I really left it alone for the whole afternoon. I was concerned it might ferment!

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SWEDISH APRICOT WALNUT BREAD

Ingredients
Instructions

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