Whole-Wheat Hazlenut & Currant Loaf
You can probably already tell that I really like my fruits and nuts. I’ve baked and shared a couple of breads that try to showcase various combinations. Here’s another one: hazelnuts and currants. They provide a pleasant textural contrast to one another, but their distinctive flavors compliment each other nicely. The currants with their small, bursts of dark fruit flavor and the large, orbs of rich whole-hazelnuts harmoniously decorate the crumb of this bread. I stumbled upon the idea for this bread in Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread. The recipe that follows is similar, but has a few tweaks and variations, as usual.
The introduction to this fine loaf is short due to time constraints for a student at this time of the year. Don’t underestimate this bread though. It has been providing me with excellent sustenance while studying for exams and writing term papers!
Whole-wheat Hazelnut & Currant Loaf
Yield: ~1850 g (three medium-sized loaves)
227 g bread flour
148 g water
6 g salt
1/8 tsp. instant dry yeast
454 g whole-wheat flour
170 g bread flour
516 g water
11 g salt
4 g instant dry yeast
28 g yeast
all of påte fermentée
145 g hazelnuts
145 g dried currants
Prepare the påte fermentée:
Disperse the yeast in the water, add the flour and salt, and mix until just combined. Place the påte fermentée in a container and cover. Let stand for 12 to 16 hours at room temperature.
Roast the hazelnuts:
Roast the hazelnuts on a pan in an oven at 375ºF, shaking the pan a few times, for 12 to 15 minutes. The nuts should turn light brown. Let the nuts cool. Rub the nuts between your fingers to skin them and set them aside. You can either leave the nuts whole or coarsely chop them. (I left them whole)
Mix the final dough:
Add all the ingredients except the påte fermentée, hazelnuts, and currants to a mixing bowl. Mix until the ingredients are well combined. Continue kneading the dough, adding the påte fermentée to it in chunks. Correct for hydration by adding flour or water at this point. The dough should be soft, supple, and loose. It will firm up once the nuts and currants are added. Continue kneading until the dough can pass the window pain test. Now add the hazelnuts and currants. Knead until just incorporated.
Ferment the dough in a well-oiled container for 2 hours with a fold after one hour.
Divide the dough into three equal pieces. Pre-shape the rounds and let rest, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes. Shape the rounds into tight boules and place them into a floured banneton or proofing basket. Cover and let proof for 1 to 1.5 hours at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 475 ºF with a steam pan. Score the loaves and place them in the oven with steam. Turn down the temperature to 450 ºF. Bake for 20 minutes at 450ºF, turn down the over to 430 ºF, and the bake for another 20 minutes. Turn off the oven, crack the door, and leave the loaves in for another 5-10 minutes. Remove the loaves from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into.