Call me weird, I don’t care. I feel like someone has hijacked my blog. These pictures are so not me. Dark, not overexposed, shadows darkened and blacks more black. You guys, what the heck??
Well, I’ll tell you what the heck. I moved. Moving does crazy-ass things to your life, habits, and – most importantly – your food blog. Why? Because the light. The light! My perfect little photo room with the two corner windows that together faced south no longer exists. Instead, the deep dark corner of my garage with no windows faces south. The windows at the back of the house are all covered in shade, and our gigantic (I mean gigantic) slider faces due north. The light is so grey – not golden like it used to be at our old house. It’s totally different.
That’s not to say I’m not stoked to be here, because I am. I’m just trying to get used to the light, that’s all. Trying to work with it and figure out how it’s going to work with me. My Buttered Miso Potatoes? Delicious! Amazing! Not so beautiful (at least in the photos). They turned out alright, I’ll give you that, but not the best photos I’ve ever taken. But day by day, recipe by recipe, we’ll get there.
So. This Apricot Pecan Bread.
It was kind of an accident. I was originally thinking of making cinnamon raisin bread so we could have french toast this past weekend, but as I rummaged through our itty-bitty pantry I realized we were out of raisins. Considering apricots are now in season (SO. STOKED.), I thought a dried apricot bread would be delightful. But apricot bread just sounded kind of lame, like it was missing something, so I threw in some chopped pecans. Glad I did. Apricots + Pecans = NotLame.
This bread is amazingly chewy, but still tender enough for a sandwich bread. It’s also half whole wheat, gets sweetened by a bit of honey (sub agave if you are anti-honey), and garners some depth from the molasses. It’s one of my favorite breads I’ve made in a long time.
We did, in fact, use this to make french toast this weekend, and it was amazing. It was so different, but in an entirely good way, from the traditional cinnamon-raisin-bread-french-toast, and I really think that this will be my new go-to bread for those purposes. Something about the apricots and pecans just won my heart over. Love.
A word about the apricots – when you are shaping your bread, try to keep them tucked inside the dough. After 45 minutes at 350°F all the sugars just burn and don’t look so pretty. They are easy to remove if you do get a few on the top, but just try to keep them tucked in there as best you can to minimize this.
On a final note, I’ve been meaning to post a bread-making essentials page on here for a while, so I’ll try to get that out this week. In the mean time, I’ve tried to provide really in-depth instructions on how to make bread. It may seem like a lot, but after the first few loaves you’ll feel like a pro. This recipe is pretty forgiving, so if this is your first time then go for it! If baking bread is old hat for you, you’ll love the simple recipe but the complex flavors. This one really is for everyone. Happy Tuesday!
Other delicious bread recipes from around the food blog world:
Multigrain Bread from Italian Chips
Quick Garlic Parmesan Knots from The Tasty Bite
Braided Nutella Bread from Food for Torte
Sourdough Seed Bread from Hungry Shots
Apricot Pecan Bread
This easy Apricot Pecan Bread recipe is filled with dried apricots and chopped pecans, is sweetened with a bit of honey, and gets complexity from molasses. Delicious!
- Prep Time: 2 hours 30 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: 2 loaves
- 13.5 oz (3 cups) bread flour
- 13.5 oz (3 cups) whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp yeast
- 1 3/4 oz (scant 1/4 cup) honey
- 1/2 oz (about 1 Tbsp) molasses
- 17 oz (2 cups + 2 Tbsp) milk, non-dairy if necessary (I used almond milk)
- 2 oz (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
- 1 scant cup (about 5 oz) chopped dried apricots
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- Combine the flours, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Mix well.
- Measure the milk into a 2-cup measuring cup, then microwave until lukewarm, about 45 seconds. Add the vegetable oil, then pour over the dry ingredients in the large bowl.
- Add the honey and molasses, then use a large spoon to mix it into a shaggy dough.
- If you are using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead on low for about 10 minutes, until the dough is tacky and smooth.
- If you are kneading by hand, dump the contents of the bowl out onto a large wood cutting board or other smooth surface. Knead for about 12 minutes, until the dough is tacky and smooth.
- Just before the dough is finished kneading, add the chopped apricots and pecans and knead until they are evenly distributed.
- Shape the dough into a large ball with your hands, then place into a well-oiled bowl (the one you used to combine the dough is fine) with the seam-side down. Spray the top with oil, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes, until very puffy and doubled in size. When poked gently, it should maintain the indentation.
- Gently punch the air out of the dough, then turn onto a cutting board greased with spray oil. Divide the dough in two, then shape each into a ball. Let rest 5 minutes.
- Pat each ball into an 8×12″ rectangle, then roll into a log from the short end, pinching the seam closed as you go. Just before you finish rolling it up, tuck the ends in a bit, as shown in the image above. Finish the roll off, then pinch the final seam closed.
- Place the dough into a well-oiled 8×4″ pan, cover with plastic wrap, and repeat with the other ball of dough. Let rise for another 45 minutes or so, until it has domed about an inch over the rim of the pan.
- minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 350°F. Bake the loaves side-by-side for about 45-50 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a thermometer inserted into the middle registers 190°F (I use a meat thermometer). I also recommend lightly covering the loaves with a sheet of foil after baking for 30 minutes or so to avoid excess browning.
- As soon as the bread is out of the oven, invert the pans to remove the loaf (wear your oven mitts!). Place the bread right-side up on a cooling rack and let cool at least 1 hour before slicing. Enjoy!