As it is Valentine’s Day, I decided to bake something special for the love of my life. Devin enjoys good bread and particularly relishes in a well-crafted plain sourdough or a rye with caraway seeds. But, aware that it was a special day, I wanted the bread for him to be a bit more decadent, with ingredients that I don’t usually use. So, I posited the question to him, “If you could have a loaf of bread with any ingredients in it, what would they be?” I added the extra constraint that he couldn’t just ask for a white sourdough or solid rye. He finally settled on a fruit and nut loaf with red wine, similar to the red wine, fig, and pine nut loaf in Dan Lepard’s The Art of Handmade Bread. But, what would the fruit and nut be? Devin particularly likes figs in his breads; the crunch of the seeds, their soft, but toothsome texture, and their mature sweetness. As for the nuts, that decision came to us while at the grocery store. Pine nuts were too expensive and the almonds and walnuts seemed too mundane for this bread. Then, I came across a can of whole chestnuts packed in water. Only familiar with whole chestnuts that required roasting and peeling, I had never tasted or baked with chestnuts package liked these before. I plucked them off the shelf, consulted with Devin, and decided together that they would be a fun experiment to try.
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