This semi-sweet Apricot and Walnut Rye Bread is delicious eaten on its own, spread with butter or lightly toasted. It also goes well with cheese and cold meats.
This rye bread is a recipe that has come from my baking along to the Great British Bake Off. Each week I let the show inspire me to make a baking post to share on Recipes Made Easy. Last week I was away so this year I have missed one. However, given that last week was Vegan week that may have been a blessing in disguise as I have little to no experience of vegan baking. This week it was Danish week, which was much more up my street. I have previously shared a post for Marmalade Danish Pastries Made Easy which you may like to try, they are not as hard as you might think and taste much better than shop bought. Well worth the time and effort.
I would have loved to tried the technical challenge this week, Abeleskiver which is a kind of stuffed apple pancake but you need a special pan to cook them in. So instead I have opted to make a Rye Bread. Now I'm not a huge fan of the very dark dense rye breads, so I have opted instead for a light rye flavoured with chopped apricots and walnuts. It is loosely based on a recipe by a friend of mine Carol Tennant from her book Knead (MQ Publications Ltd). It uses a method in which you first make a 'sponge' which is a wet yeasted dough. Once this dough is really active then you mix in the rest of the flour and other ingredients to make the loaf. It as extra step to the standard way of making bread but it does extra flavour to the end loaf.
Time is your friend here. This loaf does need a little preplanning as it takes a while to produce but on the plus side not only will you be rewarded with a delicious tasting loaf but you will have avoided any strenuous mixing and kneading as the gluten is given to time to develop on it own. As I said it in my intro it is delicious on its own, fresh or lightly toasted but you could even use it to make an open sandwich as the Bake Off contestants were asked to do. Try topping with some cream cheese or creamy goats cheese, a sprinkling of nuts and a drizzle of maple syrup - we are talking seriously scrummy!
Apricot and Walnut Rye Bread
for the 'sponge"
- 150 g wholemeal rye flour
- 100 g strong plain bread flour
- 1 tsp easy blend yeast
- 250 ml cold water
for the bread
- 250 g strong plain bread flour
- 1 tbsp light muscovado sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp easy blend yeast
- 4 tbsp full fat milk
- 75 g dried apricots chopped
- 50 g walnuts chopped
To make the 'Sponge'
- Combine the ingredients for the sponge together in a large mixing bowl. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature for about 4 hours.
To make the bread
- Once the mixture has doubled in bulk and is light and airy add the remaining ingredients for the bread and mix to form a soft sticky dough.
- Shape into a ball and leave in the bowl, covered at room temperature for 1 – 1½ hours or until doubled in size.
- Shape the dough into a neat oval and place on a well-floured baking sheet. Lightly brush with a little oil, cover loosely and leave until doubled in size (about 1 – 1½ hours).
- Preheat the oven to 220℃ (200℃ fan)/425°F/gas mark 7. Place a heavy baking sheet in the centre of the oven to heat up and an empty shallow roasting pan in the bottom of the oven. Get a jug of about 300ml (½ pt cold water ready
- When the loaf is ready to bake quickly slide off the floured baking sheet onto the hot oven sheet. Then quickly pour the jug of water into the roasting tin in the bottom of the oven shutting the oven door quickly to entrap as much steam as possible.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 200℃ (180℃ fan)/400°F/gas mark 6 and bake for 35 –40 minutes or until the loaf has a golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Apricot and Walnut Rye Bread Step by Step
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