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Holiday Dried Fruit & Oat Bread

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January 28, 2021 Holiday Dried Fruit & Oat Bread

I have baked more bread in the last six months than I have in the prior six decades. The Pandemic sent many of us into our kitchens, and I took that time to perfect my bread baking. I baked so many loaves of sourdough bread that my husband begged me to stop, and then I decided to try out some other varieties of bread. This bread is a variation of the Seeded Oat bread on my blog. I replaced the seeds with fruit and nuts and bake two delicious loaves.

This bread is excellent sliced with butter as is but is even more delicious toasted. I served some thin slices with a creamy cheese one evening, and both my husband and I agreed that it was a combination that would be great for entertaining. Maybe we can all get back to entertaining friends and family soon! Until then, this bread would be a wonderful addition to any family holiday brunch. I included the oats that were in the original recipe, but I substituted two cups of whole grain flour for two cups of bread flour to make the bread more rustic and nutritious. You could substitute other fruits or nuts such as dried apricots, figs, almonds or pecans if you prefer. This bread is best baked over two days, which improves both flavor and texture. By using a ceramic or cast-iron Dutch oven, you can also develop a great chewy crust. I only use SAF yeast for all of my bread and pizza, as it is an instant yeast that doesn’t require proofing it first. You can make two smaller loaves, or one large one, whatever works best for you.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2021

Holiday Dried Fruit & Oat Bread Holiday Dried Fruit & Oat Bread Yield: 1 Large Loaf Prep Time: 4 hours Cook Time: 50 minutes Total Time: 4 hours 50 minutes

A rustic loaf studded with fruit and nuts that would be perfect for any holiday brunch.

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Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Bread Flour
  • 2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1 Cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 1 Cup Dried Raisins
  • 3 Teaspoons Instant Dry Yeast (See Notes Above)
  • 3 + Cups Warm Water

Topping:

  • 1/4 Cup Rolled Oats

Instructions

    1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, salt, and yeast and stir to mix.
    2. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add half the water and honey.
    3. Use a large wooden spoon, and begin to stir the water into the flour, adding additional water as you go.
    4. The dough should be a little shaggy but no flour should be visible.
    5. Knead in the dried fruit and nuts.
    6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit for an hour in a warm spot in your kitchen.
    7. Punch down the dough, then refrigerate overnight.
    8. The next day take the bowl from the refrigerator and let warm to room temperature for about 3 hours.
    9. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place a large Dutch oven inside.
    10. Let the oven preheat for 30 minutes.
    11. Lay a piece of parchment paper on the counter and lightly dust with flour.
    12. Shape the dough into a tight ball by folding edges under.
    13. Cover with a kitchen towel until the oven has preheated.
    14. Use a sharp knife or lame and cut two slits over the top of the dough ball.
    15. Brush the top of the bread with water and then sprinkle the oats over the top and sides.
    16. Remove the hot Dutch oven, and carefully pick up the dough using the parchment paper and place inside the Dutch oven.
    17. Cover the Dutch oven with the lid, then return to the oven.
    18. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake another 20 minutes or so or until the bread is a deep golden brown. (The internal temperature of the bread should be 200 degrees F.)
    19. Turn oven off, open the oven door halfway and let the bread sit inside the oven for another 20 minutes. (This ensures that you will have a good chewy crust.)
    20. Remove bread from Dutch oven and cool completely before slicing.
Nutrition Information:

Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 524Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 115mgCarbohydrates: 98gFiber: 8gSugar: 25gProtein: 14g © Deborah Mele Cuisine: Italian / Category: Breads