This whole wheat hazelnut and raisin bread is nutty, flavorful, with a hint of sweet. The hydration in the dough is from the water used to soak the raisins, and is the perfect match for the whole wheat flour.
This bread can be either be made into boules, batards, or formed into sandwich loaves as I did.
"What can I do with this hazelnut raisin bread?" you ask.
Toast it, spread it with fig jam, or make make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, or even tuna or chicken salad sandwiches (which I did). Whatever main course salad that you might make with hazelnuts and raisins would translate perfectly into a sandwich with this bread. Crazy good.
This bread calls for toasted hazelnuts. Finding the hazelnuts was the first hurdle. I had forgotten that they are also called filberts. As I expressed my frustration that I could not find hazelnuts in the mass quantities of bins of nuts at my local Sprouts Market, one of the employees very politely pointed out the filbert bin (with "hazelnuts" in very fine print) right in front of me. Sheepish grin. If you can't find hazelnuts, walnuts or pecans would work well too.
The other issue with hazelnuts is peeling them. They typically come with a thin dark skin that most recipes will require that you remove.
One way is to roast the hazelnuts with the skins on and then rub the skins off with kitchen towels, and demonstrated in this video.
Another way is to boil the hazelnuts in water that has added baking soda as demonstrated by Alice Medrich for Julia Child in this video.
Having tried the roasting method in the past, I opted to try the boiling method. While neither one is easy, the boiling method sure gets off ALL of the skin. Be sure to use a large pot, because the water/baking soda mixture will bubble up quite a bit.
Whole Wheat Hazelnut and Raisin Bread
Makes two 2-pound loaves
136 grams raisins (I used golden raisins)
618 grams water
454 grams whole wheat flour
454 grams bread flour
4 grams instant yeast
136 grams hazelnuts, peeled, roasted (at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or so), and roughly chopped
- Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with water. Let soak for about 30 minutes.
- Drain the water into another container (do not discard) and add enough water to bring the total weight to 618 grams
- Add all of the ingredients except the raisins and hazelnuts to the bowl of a stand mixer and knead on the first speed for three minutes and on the second speed for 3 more minutes.
- Add the raisins and nuts and knead on low for about a minute to incorporate. Finish kneading by hand to evenly distribute the raisins and nuts.
- Allow the dough to rise in an oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap until doubled, about two hours, folding the dough over itself after one hour.
- Shape the dough into two loaves. If you are using bread pans, they should be 10 inches by 5 inches. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 70 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and prepare for steam.
- Bake the loaves for about 35 minutes, until they reach an internal temperature of about 200 degrees F. If the loaves are browning too quickly, lower the temperature to 425 degrees F and tent the loaves loosely with foil.
- De-pan and cool completely on a rack.