I didn’t feel up to tackling bagels so I baked a big loaf of bread. I looked around the interwebs and found this Apricot English Muffin Loaves recipe and used it as a guide. This bread is subtly sweet and not just good for breakfast; it’s also delicious with soup.
This goes out to Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Chriesi from Almond Corner.
Whole Wheat Apricot and Pecan Bread
1 cup warm orange juice (about 105 F)
3/4 cup warm water (about 105 F)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 cups whole wheat flour (or more as needed)
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
3 tablespoons agave nectar
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together water, orange juice, baking soda, and yeast. Add 1-1/2 cups flour and combine with a fork. Cover and let stand for 45 minutes to 1 hour. This sponge will bubble up and double in volume.
Add apricots, pecans, vital wheat gluten, agave nectar, canola oil, cinnamon and salt. Combine with a fork. If you’re using a stand mixer with dough hooks to knead, turn it on now. Work 2-1/2 cups flour into the rest of the ingredients. You may have to stop your mixer and work the last of the flour in with a fork or big spoon.
Knead with a mixer on low for 5 minutes or turn dough out on a floured surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes. If your dough is too sticky to work with, add more flour a tablespoon at a time. When the dough has been kneaded enough it will not stick to your hands and will spring back when touched.
Place dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover loosely with a clean dishcloth or paper towel. Set aside to rise until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour. Shape into a rectangle and press into a large 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Cover again and set aside to rise until doubled, about 30 – 40 minutes.
Heat oven to 350 F. Bake for 30-40 minutes. To test for doneness, turn bread loaf out of the pan and rap on the bottom with your knuckles. If it makes a sound, the bread is done.