A sweet whole wheat bread full of prunes and walnuts
This is my entry for this month edition of Weekend Breakfast Blogging, a blog event started by Nandita of Saffron Trail and hosted this time by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen. The theme proposed by Aparna is “Grains in my Breakfast”.
This simple whole-wheat bread is one of my favorites to have for breakfast, usually lightly spread with very fresh cream cheese and paired with a cup of strong black tea.
The liquid for this dough is provided by the water in which prunes are briefly simmered to soften, which provide flavor and just the right sweetness, counterbalanced by the slightly bitter aftertaste of the walnuts and the full flavor of whole wheat.
Other dried fruits can be used instead of prunes, and in my opinion dried tart cherries work amazingly well—however, my favorite remains the one made with prunes, as in the original recipe.
This bread also goes to Susan’s Yeast Spotting
From the original recipe by Carolyn Putnam Webber
In: “Two Hundred and Seventy-five War-time Recipes, 1918—USA
1/2 cup dried prunes (I used unsulfured, organic prunes)
1 cup water
1/4 cup (organic) sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup walnut pieces
2-1/4 cups whole wheat flour (or as needed)
1-1/4 tsp active dry yeast dissolved in 1 tbsp warm water.
Briefly simmer the prunes in 1 cup of water, just until tender—they should not be mushy. Strain the prunes and reserve the cooking liquid (add extra water to make 1 cup). Cut the prunes in quarters, then set aside.
Add the sugar and salt to the cooking liquid, mix well and set aside until lukewarm
Place 2 cups of the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the yeast and then the cooled cooking liquid. Mix on low speed until a dough forms, and towards the end add the butter cut in small pieces. The dough should be well developed and supple, but not too stiff. Add the remaining flour as necessary.
Let the dough ferment, covered, until doubled in bulk. Knead briefly again, let ferment once more in a covered bowl until doubled in bulk. Gently flatten and stretch the fermented dough to form a rectangle, then spread the walnut and prune pieces, pressing them into the dough. Roll up like a jelly-roll, pushing to avoid trapping air inside. Form into a loaf and place into a lightly greased 8 x 4-inches bread pan and let it ferment covered until the dough reaches about 1/2-inch above the rim of the pan.
Bake in a preheated oven (350F) for about 35 minutes, until golden brown. Unmold the bread and let it cool on a rack before slicing.