Sunday, February 2, 2014

ABC - Tuscan Coffeecake

Two mini Tuscan Coffeecakes
What's a Tuscan Coffeecake, you ask? This fruit and nut studded coffeecake/bread really stood out when I was looking for a King Arthur Flour recipe for our ABC February challenge. Although I don't have European-style flour (and assumed that most of you wouldn't), the recipe says that you can use all purpose flour as well, so it was a GO :) I also find the KAF blog posts very helpful. You can find a lot of step-by-step picture there.

If you'd like to join the ABC bakers in their monthly baking adventures, please go to the ABC blog for more information.

The starter was easy and quick to make. I made it the night before and let it do its thing. In the morning, it was nice and bubbly. I have to admit I questioned the use of a starter after seeing the addition of 2 tsp of instant yeast in the remainder of the dough. But I just followed along.

The rest of the dough I made in the bread machine, using the Dough Cycle. Look at that rise and the pretty orange specks from the orange zest I added.

Can you see those pretty orange specks?
After a full rise, it's time to incorporate the add-ins. I chose to use dried fruits only and omit the nuts. I used a total of 10 oz of dried fruit (dates, golden raisins, and craisins), which I plumped in some hot water and then drained.

Plumped up dates, golden raisins, and craisins.

A couple years ago, I found a cool way to neatly incorporate things like fruit and nuts into a yeast bread. I've used it a few times but this time, I didn't do something right and it didn't come out as nice. Maybe this yeast dough was too sticky and wet compared to previous yeast doughs I used this method on (check out this post on 50% Whole Grain Raisin Bread). You can find the cool YouTube video HERE.

Instead of baking the dough in 9" round pan, I decided to use two 6"x3" spring form pans instead. Look at the progression in the rising process:

They went into a 400 F oven (for a little oven spring) and then I reduced the temp to 350 F. They baked for about 30-35 minutes. The smell was amazing! Waiting for them to cool was sooo hard :o)

Fruit-studded yeast bread with a soft and fluffy texture.

As soon as they were cool enough, I still into them. The aroma from the orange zest hits you right away. The texture is so light and fluffy, and the natural sweetness of the fruit is perfect. I ate a slice as-is and one toasted (I felt a little bad about toasting fresh bread). They were both amazing, but the toasted one, was even more superb. Especially, when I put some homemade caramel whipped cream on it instead of butter (shhhhhh!).

When I got to the middle of the bread, I found a gap between the fruit and the top of the bread. Oh well! It still tastes just as amazing :o)

Gappy slice which tastes just as good as its ungappy siblings :o)

Final thoughts/tips:

  • Hubby liked this bread a lot. I asked him if he'd eat it as a sandwich and he said No. He liked it on its own with a cup of tea or coffee. He gave it an 8.5 out of 10 rating.
  • I loved the bread. The orange zest really upped the flavor profile and complemented the fruit really well. Since I can only eat almonds, I chose not to sub almonds for the walnuts, because I don't like soggy nuts in bread. Making it an all-fruit bread was the right choice for me personally.
  • You can see my list of changes. I decided to forgo the sugary topping (the bread itself was definitely sweet enough with all the fruit). Some ABC bakers subbed Whole Wheat flour for some of the white flour. Will definitely try that next time.
  • Don't forget to check out what the other ABC bakers thought of this month's challenge.
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I'm submitting this post to YeastSpotting!

Tuscan Coffeecake
(adapted from King Arthur Flour)

No changes to the starter.

  • All of the starter
  • 2/3 cup of water (+ 2 to 3 extra Tbsp to make the dough look like the one in the KAF picture)
  • 2 3/4 cup (11+5/8 oz) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp (1 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp (1/2 oz) canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp (1 oz) sugar
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • zest of one orange
  • 4 oz dates, plumped in hot water, drained
  • 3 oz golden raisins, plumped in hot water, drained
  • 3 oz craisins, plumped in hot water, drained
Put all the dough ingredients in the bread machine and run the Dough Cycle which includes the first rise. After that, follow the instructions on the KAF website.


  1. Hello Hanaa
    Wow! I love your Tuscan Coffeecake , the color is nice with all your dried fruits in it and all so your bread has a beautiful rise and all so the idea of two 6”by 3”hight springform pans!!…

  2. fabulous fabulous, I can imagine the orange smell, like a panettone! I loved this bread, it's easy, light and delicious!

  3. this looks absolutely delicious with all those dry fruits...

  4. Your loaves look so good. Orange zest seems like a great idea. Good that you baked it in two pans. I thought the loaves rose a lot, thanks to the amount of yeast.

  5. Lovely looking loaves, and I'm sure they taste great. But I will skip on the Tuscan coffeecake, I just worked the last piece of stollen into a torte (
    and can't eat fruit breads for a while.
    You must have been very tired, Hanaâ, to have a "baker's bedroom" in your loaf ;) (It's a sign of overproofing).

  6. Hanaa, that was a lovely challenge, Thank You ! I liked this bread, and to add some orange is a great idean. KA has an italian flavoring, called Fiori di Sicilia ( ), I will try that the next time in this bread. Curious about the next challenge ...

  7. Love the small loaves! The addition of orange zest sounds wonderful; I did wish afterwards that I had added some sort of flavouring to the bread.

  8. yours look amazing. Although not new to bread making, I've never worked with a starter and I am finding this especially challenging. I am attempting to make it again right now not using a starter but just proofed yeast. the dough was a bit dense but I am hoping it rises.

  9. That looks so tender and delicious! I loved the video link too. Your mini loaves are adorable!


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