Pecan Raisin Bread
This bread is a major PITA (pain in the arse), but so worth all the time and effort! It reminds us of Einstein’s Power Bagel, but it comes from the new Amanda Hesser’s New York Times cook book. They tout it as Pecan Raisin bread, however much we beg to differ.
It’s loaded, and I mean loaded with toasted pecans and raisins. It’s almost impossible to knead them all into the little amount of dough, but keep working at it and it will all come together.
One of the annoying parts of this recipe is that you need to start a poolish the day before you plan on actually making the bread. Then on the day you do make the bread, there are two, count them, one, two, 2 plus hour rising periods before these suckers even hit the oven. You would think the loaves would be light and fluffy, but they are quite dense.
The recipe makes three loaves, just a little over a pound a piece. You could opt to make them into even smaller loaves, perhaps in the shape of a power bagel. I think I might just try that next time. Yes, I keep making this bread because it is that good, despite its idiosyncrasies and time consuming ways.
Pecan Raisin Bread
slightly adapted from The essential NYT Cook Book
Start the day before by making a Poolish:
Combine in a 1 gallon plastic container:
1 Tbsp Fresh Yeast
3/4 Cup Warm Water
2 Cups Flour
1 Tbsp Wheat Germ
Stir yeast and water together until milky and foamy and yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and wheat germ and stir just to combine. Cover and leave at room temp for 5 hours! After which you can refrigerate it for up to 48 hours, but be sure to bring to room temp before using.
The day you bake:
Soak for 10 minutes:
2 Cups Raisins
2 Cups Boiling Water
Save the excess liquid for below.
Toast 3 Cups Pecans in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes or
Once pecans are cooled take 1/2 Cup of them and and
1/3 Cup Turbinado Sugar
and finely grind in a food processor.
Place excess raisin ‘water’ in measuring cup and add more water to make 1 1/2 Cups total liquid. Heat to 110-115 in microwave.
Place the warm liquid in a large bowl and add:
1Tbsp Fresh Yeast
1/2 Cup Poolish at room temp.
Break the poolish with your hands into small pieces. Stir until fairly dissolved. Stir in:
4 1/4 Cups Flour
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Sea Salt
Stir until combined.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Slowly folding in raisins and remaining pecans a little at a time.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and let rest until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
Gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 3 equal portions, using a scale. Form into loose rounds, cover with a tea towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
Gently shape each piece of dough into a short loaf. Place on an insulated baking sheet (or use two regular baking sheets stacked on one another) so your bottoms won’t burn. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until the loaves hold a fingerprint when pressed. Takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Heat oven to 375. Have a spray bottle full of fresh water ready. Slash each loaf 2-3 times on a diagonal.
When the oven is HOT spray it thoroughly with water and immediately put the bread in the oven and close the door. Spray the oven NOT THE BREAD 2 more times during the first 5 minutes of baking. Bake until the bread is very brown about 30-45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.