Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Fruit & Nut Sourdough #BreadBakers

If you ask me, one of the absolute best parts of the winter holiday season is the smell of all the baking taking place. At home, the weekends (my only free time) are packed with the aromas of ginger, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg, accented with sugar, butter, yeast, toasted nuts and chocolate. At work, my Home Ec classes are going to be churning out batches of my mom's delicious shortbread to take home, sure to be perfuming the school with the undeniably rich smell of baking butter.

Fruit & Nut Sourdough

While cookies and cakes are delicious, and perfectly at home (not to mention expected) during the holidays, my favourite treats are still the holiday breads. There's nothing quite like that aroma of the caramelizing crust, or a perfectly proofed dough just waiting to be punched down and shaped. In fact, I wait for (and demand) the opportunity to knock back, knead and braid our traditional Challah every year, and if I wake up early enough (read: 6AM on the 22nd of December, usually one of the first days of the holiday break!) I'm lucky enough to roll and decorate our Filled Holiday Brioche too.

While those two loaves must wait until Christmas to meet their (bread)maker, we still need a more or less "daily" bread - and why not start ramping up for holiday flavours than by mixing a few of them into a hearty, wheaten loaf? Not only did I get the nuts, raisins and oranges to sing with this cracked-wheat crusted loaf, but I kneaded in some of my favourite Winter fruit - Asian pear - as well. To keep things from getting too sweet, I decided to boost the yeasty flavour with my sourdough starter. The acidity from the starter also worked with the potato flakes to keep the crumb tender and moist - key for any whole grain bread. My final trick was actually a happy accident: having no "regular" milk in the house, I tossed in some leftover soymilk. What I got was a bread that simply soared to life, proofing beautifully both rises, all while managing to avoid giving the bread any sort of "off" or "beany" taste. Although I prefer cashew milk for drinking, soy will definitely be on my shelf for bread baking days!

BreadBakers

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. This month's theme is Sweetened Holiday Yeast Breads, hosted by Stacy of Food Lust People Love.

Check out the other breads below:

    Fruit & Nut Sourdough
    Makes 1 loaf, 16 servings
    1 cup Thompson raisins
    Southern Comfort or Grand Marnier to cover (you can use orange juice or water too)
    1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
    1 cup whole wheat bread flour
    ½ cup instant potato flakes
    ½ cup rolled oats
    2 tsp instant yeast
    2 tbsp sugar
    ⅔ cup recently fed sourdough starter
    ½ cup orange juice
    ¼ cup unsweetened plain soy milk
    1 tbsp hazelnut oil (or canola oil)
    1 tsp salt
    1 Asian pear, peeled and diced
    ⅓ cup chopped nuts (I used a mix of pine nuts, almonds and cashews)
    1. Combine raisins and liqueur in a small bowl and let stand while preparing the dough.
    2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, whisk together the flours, potato flakes, oats, yeast and sugar.
    3. Add the sourdough starter, orange juice and soy milk and mix 1 minute.
    4. Add the oil and salt and knead for 10 minutes.
    5. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
    6. Drain raisins and mix with the Asian pear and the nuts.
    7. By hand, knead in the fruit and nuts to incorporate.
    8. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rest 1 hour.
    9. Grease a 9x5” loaf pan.
    10. Deflate dough and shape into a loaf. Roll in coarse cornmeal or cracked wheat.
    11. Place in the pan, cover and let rise 1 hour.
    12. Heat the oven to 350F.
    13. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes, tenting it with foil after 15 to 20 minutes.
    14. Finished bread will register 190°F on an instant-read thermometer.
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories: 155.5
    Total Fat: 3.1 g
    Cholesterol: 0.1 mg
    Sodium: 43.3 mg
    Total Carbs: 28.7 g
    Dietary Fiber: 2.5 g
    Protein: 3.7 g