Rose’s Alpha Baker: ‘Swedish Apricot Walnut Bread’ P.488

Swedish Apricot Walnut Bread

In honor of the Jewish holiday “Tu b’shevat’, this week’s project is “Swedish Apricot Walnut Bread”’. But before we run to wear our aprons and work some dough, what is Tu B’shevat?

Tu B’shevat is the new year of the trees, and it is celebrated on a full moon or the fifteenth day of the month of Shevat. The 15th letter in Hebrew is ‘TU’ hence the holiday name. It is a minor festival that has gained importance in the last  decade as an environmental holiday. In Israel it is celebrated as the Jewish Arbor Day and reminds us about the return to the land after wandering in the desert for 40 years. God instructed the Jews to revive the land and plant trees, fruits, vegetables, and grain.

The holiday is usually celebrated by eating the fruit of the trees and vines that grow in Israel, such as almonds, apples, apricots, figs, grapes, pistachios, walnuts, raisins, olives and pomegranates. Also, God prohibited Jews from eating the fruit from trees within the first three years after planting. This practice ensures that the trees will mature, bear fruit, and live a long life. As a kid, our school would take us to a bare land, usually around Jerusalem, and we would plant trees. This experience made it very unique to know that I had contributed, in a little way, to my Country (Israel).

When all my Brothers and Sisters would come back home, my Mom would make a plate full of goodies that the land had to offer that year, which would include fresh and dried fruit that are in season. We would also enjoy many types of raw nuts, and we would sit and feast.

This TU B’SHEVT I am happy to offer a new addition to our Family traditional fruit and nut plate.

As I mentioned above, this is a project that took me five days. For a maximum flavor experience, Rose recommends to let the Biga and the Bread dough after prepared to rest for couple of days in the refrigerator.But don’t let the time be a decision factor to ever bake bread. Yeah it does require some time, and yeah there are a few steps, but most of the job is done hands-free…meaning you let the dough rest most of the time, either in the refrigerator or resting to proof. Don’t miss out on the experience of a house filled with a fresh baked deliciousness. So let’s get started, we have a lot to do…

On the first day I made the Biga,using biga make much more flavorful bread with  texture, and holes, It also make  the bread fresh much longer.this is how’s to:

Prepare water, bread flour, Pumpernickel flour, yeast and salt.

Ingrediants for the Biga

whisk together the bread flour, pumpernickel flour and yeast.

Add salt and than water and stir till very stiff and smooth.

Place in a container that lightly coated with oil and keep refrigerated up to 3 days.

 

On the fourth day I started with toasting walnuts to add to the dough later  :

Roasted walnuts

Roast walnut and than rub as much skin off

Straining the roasted walnut will help removing more skin off the walnut….less bitterness later…

 

Once the walnut are ready pour water into the bowl  and with a sharp scissor cut the biga into little pieces :

Day four making the dough

The biga cut into little pieces into the water

Dry ingrediants

Adding flour and yeast than mix on low last add the salt

Knead the dough for 7 minutes

Elastic and smooth dough

Let the dough rest covered for 20 minutes

After letting it rest add the raisin and walnut until all incorporated:

Add walnuts and raisin to the dough

Knead the dough till all evenly incorporated

Place the dough in a lightly oiled container, mark where the dough height should be after doubled put in a warm place

Once  the dough had rise give it a four sided stretch and fold, than place it again in a lightly oiled container and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator  so it look like this:

Four sided stretch and fold

For a second rise place dough in a lightly oiled container and let rise over night in the refrigerator

On the last day I pulled out from the refrigerator the chilled dough, pressed it down and let it rest covered on the counter for an hour:

Flatten chilled dough, cover and let rest for an hour

Press dough Flatten dough to 7 by 5 inch

Fold both of the dough edges to form a triangle

Set the apricot under the triangle

Roll the dough to cover the apricot to form a torpedo

Place the Torpedo- shaped dough on a prepared baking sheet , cover with lightly sprayed plastic wrap and let rise till double.

Then I put the torpedo shaped dough in a pre-heated oven for a total bake time of 40 minutes. Once ready, I removed the bread from the oven and transferred it to a baking sheet to cool down for total of two hours. The hardest part of making the bread is letting it cool down… It takes a lot of patience to look only!

So Delicious!!!

Once the bread was ready to enjoy, this is all that was left after just 10 minutes…

You bet I got that little left over …

Until next time, let’s have happy baking and a great Holiday!!!

Happy Tu B Shevat

 

15 comments

    • orinlag says:

      Hi Michele,
      I sure will check out your results. My Family all agreed that it is a must keep and I will revisit this recipe for years to come. Thank you again for your comment!

  1. Chef TonyB says:

    Orin, welcome to the group! I really enjoyed reading the history lesson you gave us all with the holiday of “Tu b’shevat’. Your bread looks fantastic. You are very correct about the hardest part being the bread cooling stage for two hours while the house smelled marvelous with all the rich flavors utilized in the baking.

    I look forward to your future post.

    Happy Baking!

  2. Monica says:

    Welcome Orin! great step-by-step photos! I was odd man out on this weeks bake by not really liking it, but I take confort that I was the minority… looking forward to baking along with you.

  3. Jason says:

    I am totally hooked on your blog and am about to get hooked on baking! You make it look so easy! I can’t wait to get started! THANK YOU!

  4. Jason says:

    Thank you for the easy-to-follow directions and amazing photos! I know that my family will devour this as soon as it comes out of the oven!

  5. faithy says:

    Hi! Beautiful bread! I noticed your flour is also grey like mine but your bread didn’t turn out as grey as mine! Dunno why mine turned out so much more grey-er..(is there such a word?..hahaha).

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