Cherry-Hazelnut (Yeast) Bread

November 30, 2013

Author Notes: This bread is inspired by and adapted from Joanne Chang's fabulous raisin-pecan rolls at Flour Bakery in Boston, a recipe for which is in her first cookbook. They're lightly sweet and absolutely jam-packed with fruits and nuts. I particularly like the combination of cherries and hazelnuts and think this bread makes amazing toast for breakfast. It's amazing with gjetost (Norwegian goat cheese).fiveandspice

Makes: 2 8-inch loaves


Cherry hazelnut bread

  • 1 1/4 cups (300 grams) lukewarm water
  • 3 3/4 cups (540 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 12 ounces (340 grams) bread sponge (below) OR recently fed sourdough starter
  • 1/4 cup (85 grams) honey
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup (100 grams) chopped, toasted hazelnuts
  • 3/4 cup (120 grams) dried tart cherries
  • medium-coarse yellow cornmeal for the baking sheet, if using

Bread sponge

  • 3/4 cup (180 g) water
  • 1 1/4 cups (175 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
In This Recipe


Cherry hazelnut bread

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the bread hook, stir together the water and flour just until they are mixed together into a shaggy mess. Cover the bowl and let it stand for 10-20 minutes (this is called an autolyse).
  2. Add the honey, salt, and sponge/sourdough starter, and mix on medium-low speed for 3-4 minutes, until smooth. At this point, if you pinch the dough it should feel supple but still somewhat sticky - a bit like wallpaper paste. If it seems too stiff add a few Tbs. of water, if too sticky add a few Tbs. flour. Add the hazelnuts and cherries and mix on low speed for 4-5 minutes, stopping to pull the dough off the hook as needed. (If kneading by hand, knead on a floured surface for 4-5 minutes before adding the nuts and cherries, then 5-6 minutes after). Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turn the dough to coat, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen cloth.
  3. Let the dough rise in a warm place (around 80F is ideal) for 2-3 hours. The dough will rise only a small amount and should feel loose and still somewhat sticky. At this point, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide it into two equal portions. Shape each half into a ball and flour their surfaces well. At this point, transfer the two loaves to bannetons or onto a baking sheet sprinkled with a good amount of cornmeal for rising. (At this point you can also refrigerate the loaves overnight and then take them out the next day for the second rise and baking.)
  4. Cover the loaves with plastic wrap and allow them to rise at room temperature for another 3 hours (they still won't puff up much, but they will seem like the dough has relaxed).
  5. Heat your oven to 450F and place a Dutch oven with a lid in the oven to heat with it. When the oven has heated, remove the Dutch oven and transfer one of the loaves into it, cover and place in the oven. Bake covered for 20 minutes, then remove the cover and continue to bake until deeply brown and crusty, 20-30 minutes more. Remove from the oven and repeat to bake the second loaf.
  6. Alternatively, heat your oven to 450F with a heat proof non-breakable baking dish on the lowest rack. Place the baking sheet with the loaves into the oven and throw 2 cups of water into the pre-heated baking pan, then quickly shut the oven door to keep the steam in. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the loaves are deeply golden brown on top. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.
  7. Loaves freeze well wrapped tightly. Then just let them defrost and you'll be ready for slicing and toasting.

Bread sponge

  1. Stir together 1 cup of the flour (140 g) with the water and yeast until well mixed. Cover and leave at room temperature for 4-8 hours. Then stir in the remaining flour. Cover again and leave in the refrigerator overnight before using.

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