Cherry-Hazelnut (Yeast) Bread

November 30, 2013
3 Ratings
  • Makes 2 8-inch loaves
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  1. Cherry hazelnut bread
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Loaves freeze well wrapped tightly. Then just let them defrost and you'll be ready for slicing and toasting.
  1. Bread sponge
  2. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Brenda Walker
    Brenda Walker
  • bluejeangourmet
  • barcelona
  • Mother Daniel
    Mother Daniel
  • KimmyV

33 Reviews

Paul January 11, 2019
Hi, so I made this loaf using my own starter and did a two hour autolyse, I substitute the cherries and hazelnuts with cranberries and finely chopped mix nuts, chopped myself ( planters honey roasted salted mixed nuts) I gave the nuts a cold rinse and let them soak a few minutes in the cold water. I added the cranberries and nuts during the kneading process. I let rise in a covered container and it did double in size, then the final proof in a Banneton, then baked on a stone and covered with a large Pyrex glass bowl preheated at 450 degrees. And the bread was a big hit and completely consumed in just a couple hours, and that’s how I know it was spot on. And the request for more keeps coming, thanks again for the great recipes food52, you can check out the photos on my Facebook page, thanks, Paul Mendez
Dale October 29, 2018
I just made this this yesterday. I used my own sourdough starter (Fed on Friday night) and weighed out everything, I did substitute cranberries because I had a ton of those. Mine didn't rise as much as the picture showed however this is a great breakfast bread! Great crumb and chewy crust, an absolute treat. Next time I'll use a fresher starter and I am going to try to use the mixing method from Tartine (my best sourdough breads come from this method)and see if I cant get the rise a little higher, but even if I don't I will definitely keep this in my brunch repertoire.
Brenda W. January 30, 2017
Oh no! I was so excited to try this bread and I followed the instructions very carefully, even weighing out all my ingredients. I started it on Friday, making the dough sponge. Saturday I finished the sponge and let it sit all night in the fridge. Sunday I did the first rise, then wrapped the two balls in plastic wrap and left them in the fridge overnight. This afternoon I brought out the first ball and let it have three hours in an ever-so-slightly warmed oven (the kitchen was cold) then baked it in the dutch oven I have (a larger 5 quart one). When I took the lid off after 20 minutes it was already really brown on top and not rising very well at all. I cut the rest of the baking time short, but still when I pulled it out it was burned on the bottom (you have to cut it off as it is not even edible) and it looks like a slightly puffed up hockey puck. I am really disappointed! I also found that the taste is not all that great unless you hit a bit of the sweet cherry. I really want to like this recipe. Any ideas what went wrong? I'm in Denver so technically high-altitude, but nothing really severe like the mountains and I don't think I've had to make adjustments to yeast bread before. I have not baked the second loaf yet and would like to see if I can do something to make that one better.
N. J. March 25, 2017
Hi Brenda, I made the recipe 2 weeks ago and it came out great. My Dutch oven is a smaller size than yours so maybe that was the why it baked so quickly and burned on the bottom (?). My first loaf was a bit darker on the bottom than I liked so I moved the oven rack one level up and used one of my insulated cookie baking sheets under the Dutch oven and that did the trick. It is a lovely bread and I hope you have success if you try it again.
N. J. March 25, 2017
Hi again Brenda, I checked the size of my dutch oven. It is 3 quarts.
Tracy February 24, 2015
Has anyone baked this bread on a stone instead of in a dutch oven? How did it turn out??
sarahepardee February 11, 2015
Do I need to grease/ use semolina/ cornmeal in my dutch oven when preheating/ baking the loaves? I know it's kind of a silly question, but I made bread in it once before and it stuck very badly. Maybe that is avoided if the dutch oven is preheated?
Aileen July 19, 2014
Is there any way of substituting some of the flour for whole wheat flour? Or would the dough become too dense and tough?
fiveandspice July 19, 2014
I'm guessing you could sub up to about half of the flour with whole wheat and still get good results, especially if you use something like a white whole wheat that's a little less heavy. If you try it, let us know how it goes!
Bee671 February 7, 2014
So delicious!! Had to restrain myself and husband from eating an entire loaf in one sitting. I substituted dark chocolate for the hazelnuts...yummy! Next time I'd add a touch more salt, otherwise perfection! Thanks for the great recipe.
fiveandspice February 8, 2014
So glad! And dark chocolate? Yum!!!!
bluejeangourmet January 25, 2014
my entire family is enjoying slices of the warm first loaf as the second one cooks in the oven! fabulous crust and crumb, and really easy to do--with a snow day on Friday, this made the perfect weekend project.
fiveandspice February 8, 2014
barcelona December 19, 2013
If using the spong, you don't need extra yeast in the loaf? All purpose so around 11.5% protein? Looks so damn good! I am going to make this for Christmas :)
fiveandspice December 19, 2013
Yup. The sponge is enough!
Mother D. December 12, 2013
Some cast iron dutch ovens do have a pattern in the bottom as the bread shos here. There are bread proofing baskets or banneton(s) that are constructed of reeds (some are made of wood pulp) that leave coil makings on the bread, too. They come oblong, oval, and round.
KimmyV December 12, 2013
I think the design is from the proofing of the bread. It looks like design of a basket that the bread rose in and then when you flip it out into the oven It is on top. Cooking the bread in the Dutch oven doesn't give it the design but rather allows the bread to cook in a steamy environment which gives it such a great crust. Correct me if I am wrong!
fiveandspice December 12, 2013
You're right!
Shannon December 12, 2013
This might be a silly question, but I don't own a Dutch oven. Is the cool circular design on the top of the bread just from the lid of the Dutch oven? Or is there some other way to make that design (please share!)
fiveandspice December 12, 2013
Yes, Kimmy is right. The design is from a bread proofing basket - aka a banneton or brotform. I actually just got it fairly recently and it has made bread baking soooo much easier. The dough rises nicely in the basket and keeps a round shape, and then you turn it out and it comes out nicely without sticking unlike all my experiences with a towel lined bowl where the dough always seems to stick no matter how much flour I use!
Shannon December 12, 2013
Despite having made a lot of bread I've never heard of this before but since I also have that problem with towel lined bowls I think I'll put it on my holiday wish list! The bread is beautiful - thanks for sharing :)
Sarah J. April 15, 2016
Do you flour the brotform? Asking for a friend (just kidding—asking for myself!)
fiveandspice April 15, 2016
Haha, yes I do, pretty heavily, though I've never figured out how to keep a good lot of the flour from just falling to the bottom (future top). I also make sure to give the loaf a good gluten cloak before putting it in to rise.
Sarah J. April 15, 2016
So flour the loaf AND the basket, yes? Thank you!!
fiveandspice April 15, 2016
That's what I do. I can't promise that's right. I'm really still just a bread baking dilettante.
ghainskom December 9, 2013
Made this recipe yesterday, substituting the cherries for cranberries. A winner, a keeper. The bread is so good it doesn't even need butter! Will have to remember to be more patient next time and let the Dutch oven really heat up for the first loaf, the crust of the second one was of much better quality!
fiveandspice December 9, 2013
So glad you liked it! It does pay to have patience heating the Dutch oven! :)
Cristina S. December 3, 2013
Cherries, hazelnuts, goat cheese--sold!
fiveandspice December 5, 2013
That's how I feel!
Midge December 3, 2013
I am so making this. Thanks for another keeper!
fiveandspice December 5, 2013
Thanks Peggy!
KimmyV December 2, 2013
Wow this bread looks amazing. I live in the inland northwest so i have both local hazelnuts and dried cherries on hand. I'll be making the bread spong tonight!
fiveandspice December 5, 2013
Wow! Local hazelnuts and cherries would be perfection!