There’s a baker’s shelf in my kitchen with several mismatched jars of dried fruits and nuts. It’s both decorative and functional, but mostly inspiring for sourdough. I came up with this recipe using bits and pieces of what I had, but I quickly learned that chewy, sweet apricots and nutty sunflower seeds are a powerhouse combination! This is a wonderful, hearty loaf. Imagine a thick, toasted, buttered slice with a frothy cappuccino at the ready.
About the Dough: For best results, make sure to weigh your ingredients and chop the dried fruit into small pieces, as they will plump up when soaked. I like to make this dough on Friday evening, to rise at room temperature overnight. On Saturday morning, I quickly shape and bake the dough, just in time for breakfast.
- Yield: 1 Loaf
- 0.33 cup (65 g) bubbly, active starter
- 10.33 cups plus 2 tbsp (325 g) warm water
- 4 cups plus 2 tbsp (500 g) bread flour
- 1½ tsp (9 g) fine sea salt
- 1 cup (100 g) mixed dried fruit such as cherries, blueberries, golden raisins, and cranberries, roughly chopped
- 50 g (about 5 whole) dried apricots, diced
- 0.33 cup (50 g) sunflower seeds
- 2 tsp (10 g) pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp (24 g) sugar
- ½ tsp (1 g) cinnamon
- Butter, for coating the pan
- A few days before baking, feed your starter until bubbly and active. Store at room temperature until ready to use. Make the dough
- In a large bowl, whisk the starter and water together with a fork. Add the flour and salt. Mix to combine, then finish by hand to form a rough and shaggy dough. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your schedule. A long rest at this stage will make the fillings easier to incorporate. Replenish your starter with fresh flour and water, and store according to preference.
- Meanwhile, soak the dried fruit, apricots, and sunflower seeds in just enough warm water to cover. Add the vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon, and stir to combine. Drain well before using. Add the fillings
- After the dough has rested, add the fruit mixture to the bowl. Gently knead the dough to incorporate, about 1 to 2 minutes. Bulk rise
- Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rise at room temperature until double in size, about 8 to 10 hours or more at 70°F (21°C).
- Remove the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently dimple the surface with your fingertips to release some of the air. Roll the dough into a log, tucking the ends underneath. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly coat a 9 × 5-inch (23 × 13-cm) loaf pan with butter. With floured hands, cup the dough and pull it toward you to tighten its shape. Transfer to your loaf pan, seam side down. Second rise
- Cover the dough, and let it rise until it reaches about 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the rim of pan. This will take about 1 to 2 hours, depending on temperature.
- Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C). Bake
- Place the dough on the center rack and reduce the heat to 400°F (200°C). Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Check on the loaf halfway through baking, and tent loosely with foil if the fruit is browning too quickly. Cool the loaf in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling before cutting into slices.
- The moisture in the dried fruit will keep this loaf fresh for 3 to 4 days. Store at room temperature in a plastic bag.