Fig and Toasted Hazelnut Wholemeal Bread

A beautiful wholemeal loaf recipe which features figs and toasted hazelnuts. Enjoy the homemade bread in slices with hummus or pate for a tasty lunch idea.

The Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking
By
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Introduction

A good-looking, great-tasting, not too heavy loaf that’s good just spread with butter, or served with cheese or cold meats. Try toasted slices with hummus or pâté, plus salad for lunch.

Makes 2 medium loaves

Ingredients

100g blanched (skinned) hazelnuts
350g stoneground wholemeal bread flour
350g strong white bread flour
1 x 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
10g sea salt, crushed
About 500ml lukewarm water
1-2 tsp rapeseed or olive oil, for kneading
150g soft-dried figs

Essential kit

You will need 2 baking sheets, lined with baking paper.

Instructions

Heat your oven to l80°C/350°F/gas 4. Tip the nuts into a small baking dish or tin and toast in the oven for 6-8 minutes until a light golden brown (keep an eye on the nuts as they can burn easily). Leave to cool, then chop roughly.

Meanwhile, start the dough. Put both flours, the yeast and salt into a large bowl (or the bowl of a free-standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook). Mix well. Gradually work in enough lukewarm water to make a soft but not sticky dough (flours vary so you may need a bit more or less than 500ml). Leave the dough in the bowl, uncovered, for 5 minutes so the flours can become fully hydrated (see the Baker’s Guide page 10 for more information).

Rub a teaspoon of oil on to your hands, then punch down the dough to deflate it. Turn it out on to a lightly oiled worktop. Knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and stretchy (or 5 minutes in the mixer on slowest speed).

With kitchen scissors, snip the woody stalks from the figs, then cut large figs into 8 chunks, smaller ones into 6 chunks. Scatter the figs and toasted nuts over the dough and knead for a couple of minutes until evenly distributed.

Divide the dough in half. Shape each piece into an oval about 22 x 12cm - these loaves don’t have to be perfectly neat; in fact, they’ll look better if they are not. Set each on a lined baking sheet. Slip the sheets into large plastic bags, slightly inflate so the plastic won’t stick to the dough as it rises and secure the ends. Leave the loaves to rise at normal room temperature for 50-60 minutes until almost doubled in size. Towards the end of the rising time, heat your oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7.

Uncover the loaves and bake in the heated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 190°C/375°F/gas 5 and bake for a further 20 minutes until the bread sounds hollow when the underside is tapped. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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