Sunday, February 1, 2015

TBB - Swedish Apricot Walnut Bread

I was excited about baking a yeast recipe this week. The Swedish Apricot Walnut Bread needed a few tweaks to suit my taste and allergies, but turned out great in the end!

I loved the soft, light and airy crumb of this bread. The sweetness from the dried fruit was just the right amount!

Here's a summary of how things went down. You'll notice that there was plenty of room for errors and all sorts of disastrous things. However, I got lucky and the bread turned out fantastic!

"Biga horror". After 3 days the biga looked almost the same as day 1. It smelled good though. Btw, I used an organic coarse rye flour because that's what I had on hand.
Biga after 3 days
  • Used all non-Gold Medal Bread Flour (I like unbleached/non-bromated Dakota Maid Bread Flour).
  • Due to allergies, I can't eat walnuts. So I subbed the amount of walnuts with cranberries.
  • Added more water to the final dough because it didn't "feel" quite right to my taste. It's hard to guess but I'd say it's about 2-4 Tbsp.
  • While the dough was in the bread machine being kneaded, about halfway through, it dawned on me that there's no fat in the recipe. So I eyeballed about 2 tsp of olive oil. And I also added 1 Tbsp of dry milk powder. I like soft bread, what can I say?
  • After its first rise in the bread machine, I did the business letter fold and refrigerated the dough.
  • The next day I took the dough out of the fridge and put it in the microwave (turned OFF) with a cup of boiling water to make the dough come to room temp.

In the meantime I made biscotti :o)

Yummy almond/orange/date biscotti!

Patted the dough into a rough 7" x 5" rectangle. I didn't have any apricots so I improvised and used Medjool dates instead. They're HUGE and oh-so-tasty!!!

Medjool dates ready to be folded into thedough.

Before the second rise:

After the second rise:

Because the biscotti needs to be baked twice, I ran into a little timing issue. The bread was ready to be baked but the biscotti wasn't quite done yet, and the oven temperature was almost 100 degrees less than what was required for the bread.

Gave the biscotti the extra couple minutes it needed, sprayed the bread with water and slashed it, put the bread in the oven and cranked up the temperature to 450 F, hoping (and praying) that the heat blast will give the bread some oven spring. Watching the bread carefully, I took it out after 3-5 minutes and sprayed it with water again to soften the crust, to allow for more oven spring later. I let the bread sit outside the oven for a couple minutes while the oven finished up reaching the necessary temperature.

Stuck the bread back into the oven and proceeded per the recipe's instructions :o)

I've never wanted to cut into a bread this bad. I let it cool for the full 2-3 hours and then sliced it. When I sliced the end cap off and looked at the texture, I knew it was a success. It was airy, soft and light. Just incredible! You created another winner, Rose!

Look at that open texture!

Love the color profile. Bon Appetit!

Final thoughts/tips:

  • Hubby liked this bread a lot. It was soft, had the right amount of sweetness from the dried fruit. His only criticism was that he thought the bread was a bit "yeasty". He still gave it a 9 out of 10.
  • I love this bread. LOVED IT!! There were so many things that could have gone wrong, resulting in a dense (or gummy) and tasteless bread, but thankfully they didn't. I didn't think it had an overly yeasty odor or flavor. It was pretty neutral, I thought. The bread's texture was soft with a crunchy exterior. You could see tiny specks from the rye flour. LOVED IT!!
  • You can find an adaptation of this recipe on Rose's blog.
  • Check out Rose's Alpha Bakers blog to see how the other bakers liked this bread.


  1. Your biscotti-s look so good! I have to copy that recipe down to make some time soon! And i love how you turned your bread so white and fluffy!! I can't see tiny specks....I only see beautiful white fluffy bread. Cranberries bring out the color too! So pretty!

    1. Thanks Faithy! The specks are really tiny. I loved the colors too.

  2. I love the idea of making this bread with dates and cranberries - it's absolutely beautiful! Great post!!

  3. BEAUTIFUL results! I love how soft and white it is! Your adaptations sound delicious. I am making this recipe again soon!

  4. Biscotti in your spare time?! You crack me up! Your bread looks gorgeous and the combination of cranberries and dates sounds wonderful. Dates are a treat! I made pesto waiting for it to bake, not as adventurous as biscotti. Would have preferred biscotti!

  5. Maybe I should do a redo and use your modified recipe, because mine was not super airy... and I could not shake the after taste. I look at yours and it does not look nothing like mine! sigh.

  6. What a colorful bread. So pretty. Everything about it looks perfect. Could you pass me the plate of biscotti, please!

  7. wow!!! i love those dates too and i can imagine what a wonderful flavor they gave the bread. and i love your modifications too. they really demonstrate how one can put her own stamp on a recipe when she understands how the various ingredients perform. re the yeasty comment--clearly your husband is spoiled by your exceptional cooking and baking so has to put in a wee criticism!

    1. Thanks Rose :o) It was a great bread recipe that lends itself to all sorts of fruit and nut combinations. And yes, hubby always has to find something to critique.

  8. It turned out so pretty! Like a mosaic and your biscotti looks yummy too!

  9. Your loaf does look airier than mine And others'. Maybe the modifications?

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