Thursday, February 6, 2014

Nut and Raisin Bread for a Rainy Day

I adapted this recipe from The Book Of Bread's "Sunflower Meal Bread with Sunflower Seeds and Raisins" to use up ingredients that were already in my pantry, since running to the bulk bins at Whole Foods at 4:45 on a Wednesday evening in commute traffic didn't sound like much fun. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of sunflower seeds, 1 cup as ground sunflower meal, and 1 cup whole, folded into the dough before baking. I only had about a cup, so I used walnuts and almonds to make up the 1  cup of nut meal, while keeping my cup of sunflower seeds to fold into the bread. I also added a bit of whole wheat flour and combined golden raisins and dried cranberries to fold into the loaf.

Nut and Raisin Bread for a Rainy Day
Makes 2 loaves or rounds

1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1/4 cup honey
1/4 nonfat dry milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almonds
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups unbleached bread flour

1 cup sunflower seeds, divided
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In the bowl of your mixer (or a large bowl if making by hand) dissolve the yeast in half the warm water. Dissolve the honey, dry milk, and salt together in the rest of the warm water. Add to the yeast. Meanwhile, grind the walnuts and almonds together (I used my food processor for this) into a coarse nut meal. Stir the nut meal and the whole wheat flour into the liquids. Add enough of the bread flour until it becomes hard to stir. If you are doing it by hand, this is the time to turn the dough out onto a  floured board and knead it, adding more flour as necessary, until it is smooth and no longer sticky. If you are using a stand mixer, you can do the same process using your dough hook. You will still need to knead the dough a few times by hand after it had come together. Return the dough to the greased bowl and cover, for about an hour, or until it has risen and doubled in size. 
Toss the raisins, dried cranberries, and 3/4 cup of sunflower seeds with the cinnamon, then fold into the dough. Divide the dough in half, and shape into 2 loaves or rounds, loaf pans optional. I have done both with good results. Let rise in a warm spot for 35-40 minutes. When you are ready to bake, brush the loaves with a beaten egg and sprinkle the remaining sunflower seeds on top. Bake in a 350 F degree oven for 45 minutes. Let cool before slicing. Enjoy with a spread of butter, with a cup of tea in the afternoon, or with peanut butter for breakfast.
Click here for a printable recipe
Feel free to use my recipe as it is written or substitute in your favorite nuts or dried fruits. Please write in the comments what you used, how it turned out, or if you have any questions. I look forward in hearing about your creativity!

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