|Sure, there are three
steps, but the first step is
easy and the last two
steps don't require any
work at all!
|September 27, 2012
Hazelnut Round Braid
When fall comes I get the urge to bake with nuts, and hazels are
some of my favorites. While we have hazelnut bushes growing at
our place, the nuts take so long to crack by hand that I resort to
buying them. In Rochester, the place to buy nuts is that shrine of
gourmet cusine, Fleet Farm. Where else can you find hazelnuts,
goat feed and assault rifles all under one roof?
The flavor is unlike any other loaf you'll make and the bread keeps
very well. The loaf pictured is made with the one loaf batch but I've
made one giant, miche-size braid from the double batch also.
Hazelnut Round Braid
In a food processor or blender grind the hazels coarsely and set
aside. In a large bowl mix the flours, yeast and salt together. Stir in
the oil, molasses and warm water until well mixed. Stir in the ground
hazels until evenly distributed. Cover and allow to rise at room
temperature for about 2 hours then refrigerate dough until ready to
use, OR refrigerate immediately and wait at least 12 hours to use
To Make Loaves
Grease one or two 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch pans and sprinkle with cornmeal.
Divide the dough in half (if making two loaves) and shape dough into
a loaf. Lay in the loaf pan(s) and cover lightly with plastic wrap.
Allow the loaves to rise at room temperature for about an hour.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove the plastic
wrap and randomly snip ½ inch holes with a sharp scissors on the
loaves. Place a whole hazel or filbert in each hole. Place the loaves
on the center shelf of the oven, turn the oven down to 400 degrees
and bake for 45 minutes. Remove loaves to a wire rack to cool.
To Make a Round Braid
Prepare a single or double batch of dough as outlined above.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into six equal
portions. On a floured surface shape stretch each portion out into
cylinders, each about 16 inches long.
To make the six strand braid, connect one end of the braid strands
all together then group three braid strands slightly to your right and
three braid strands slightly to your left. Move the strand on the far
right over the other two strands on the right and place it in the
middle. Snug the strand up toward the area where all six strands
connect. Move the strand on the far left over the other two strands
on the left and cross over the strand in the middle. Again, snug the
strand up toward the area where all six strands connect.
Repeat the process with the strand now on the far right, then the
strand on the far left until a braid is formed.
Gently tease the braid into a circle shape by stretching the dough in
the middle of the braid out and folding the corners under the loaf.
Transfer to a peel or baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
Cover the braid lightly with plastic and allow to rise at room
temperature for about an hour.
Meanwhile preheat the oven, baking stone and steam pan to 450
degrees. Uncover the braid and use a sharp pointed scissors to
snip a 3/4 inch hole into the flat, broad part of each braid. Place a
whole hazel or filbert into each of the holes taking care to set the
hazel in deeply. Repeat the nut insertion process in random spots
on the tops of the braid. Slide the loaf and parchment off the peel
onto the baking stone. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees and
pour a cup of water into the steam bath. Bake for 60 minutes (large
loaf) or 45 minutes (small loaf) then remove to a wire rack to cool.
Submitted to Susan's YeastSpotting blog at www.wildyeastblog.com