I have a certain unnamed family member who loves to dine with the shower-capped sample givers at the grocery store. I pretend not to know him while he prowls the end of the aisles searching for his next bite.
But my self-righteousness falls apart when I visit the bakery at Central Market. The paper bags with folded down tops, tongs inside and stuffed with small chunks of fresh baked bread are irresistible. Those with some combination of nuts, fruits, cheeses and/or spices are my favorite.
After reading about Rosemary and Cherry Pecans in the premier edition of Where Women Cook, I was inspired to create a bread similar to those at the bakery. Using the main ingredients from Ashley English’s creation, I added fresh rosemary, dried cherries and toasted pecans to one of my favorite recipes–Crusty Round Bread.
You could do the same with your own favorite white or wheat loaf. I haven’t tried it yet but wouldn’t this make an extraordinary variation of Almost No-Knead Bread?
If you should happen to have any leftovers, try making a pannini with shaved ham, cheese of your choice and Durkee’s Sandwich Spread.
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
- 1 teaspoon instant or bread machine yeast
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- ¾ cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans (see easy directions for toasting in the microwave)
- ¾ cup dried cherries
- Place water, yeast and flour in bread machine pan and select the "dough" cycle. Allow to mix about 5 minutes using small spatula to carefully push flour stuck in the corners into the mixing area. Unplug machine and let stand at room temperature over night or about 8 hours. Do not leave over 16 hours.
- Restart dough cycle. Check dough after 5-10 minutes of mixing. If necessary, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time to form a smooth but slightly tacky ball or water if dough is too dry and bounces against the sides. When machine beeps (if your machine beeps when it's time to add whole ingredients, if not--add by hand after dough cycle), add cherries, rosemary and pecans.
- When dough cycle ends, allow dough to continue to rise in machine for at least 30 minutes (or more if ambient temperature is cool) until double in size.
- Remove dough from bread machine pan to lightly floured board or silicone baking mat (my preference). Form into smooth ball by pulling dough around to bottom until top is smooth. Place on parchment-covered cookie sheet. Cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap and place in warm place to rise until almost double.
- About 15 minutes before bread is ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Just before putting bread in the oven, sprinkle top with flour. Using a single edge razor blade (or a sharp, serrated knife), make several cuts across top of bread about ½ inch deep. Bake 30-35 minutes until loaf is golden brown and internal temperature has reached 190 degrees. Allow to cool on rack before slicing. Or slice while it's hot at the risk of squashing your bread. It's worth it.