My friend Giulia at Alterkitchen is always teasing me about the savory breakfasts that I and other Americans seem to like. She has mentioned several times, that Italians like their sweet breakfasts – rolls, croissants, muffins, sweet cakes, and such. Well, there are days that I, too, like something a little sweet to start the day. Sometimes it’s just a slice of toast and jelly and other times I go all out and fix my favorite pancakes – Lemon Cornmeal Ricotta. But for the past few week, it’s been this Fruit and Nut Yeast Bread. A wonderful breakfast bread that makes a light and tasty breakfast. Cut a thick slice, warm in the toaster and top with a touch of butter – no jam or jelly needed!
If you’ve had the Italian bread, Panettone, then you have an idea as to what I was going for when I started developing this recipe. I wanted something with a little more “grain” than Panettone, less fat, about the same sweetness, and a bread that worked with a variety of fruits and nuts. This bread meets all of those requirements. It’s so easy to make and is quite tasty with dried fruit and/or candied fruits and your favorite nuts.
The loaves that I have made thus far contain a mix of candied watermelon rind, preserved figs that had sugared in the refrigerator, and some dried cranberries. My friend Su Anne, who graciously tested my recipe for me, used cranberries, dried apricots, and a bit of prunes. Both of us used pecans for the nuts. Every loaf came out very lovely and was enjoyed by all.
For more possible recipe variations, please see my Kitchen Notes.
Fruit and Nut Yeast Bread Recipe
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ’s Kitchen
Yield: 1 large delicious loaf
Time: 2 to 3 hours (depends on how fast your dough rises)
Because of all of the fruit and nuts, this bread dough is best made using a stand mixer.
½ cup milk, warmed in microwave for 1 minute
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup lukewarm water (about 110° F)
1 Tbsp. honey*
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ cup unbleached bread flour
1 cup spelt flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
Generous ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans (or your favorite nut)*
Generous ½ cup coarsely chopped dried and/or candied fruit*
*See Kitchen Notes
- Heat the milk and add the butter. Set aside.
- Combine water and honey in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve the honey.
- Sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit for about 10 minutes or until the yeast starts to activate.
- Chop your fruit and nuts. Set aside.
- To the bowl of a stand mixer add the warm milk with butter, salt, slightly beaten egg and yeast mixture. Using the paddle attachment, combine ingredients.
- To the bowl, add the whole wheat flour, spelt flour, and 1 cup unbleached bread flour. Turn on mixer and mix until well combined.
- Add the nuts and the fruit. Incorporate into bread mixture for about 3 minutes.
- Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook. (Coat a rubber spatula with butter and use it to clean the dough off of the paddle.)
- Add the remaining ½ cup unbleached flour. Knead for 5 minutes. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl, but still be a little sticky. Add a little more flour if needed.
- Butter the sides and bottom of a bread pan.
- Dump the bread dough into the bread pan.
- Cover with a damp, lightweight cloth or wet paper towel and set in a warm location to rise.
- When the dough rises high enough to touch the cloth, remove it and let the bread continue to rise until it is about 1” above the edge of the pan. This could take 1 to 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375° F. Once hot, carefully place the risen dough into the center of the oven.
- Bake for 15 minutes then turn the oven temperature down to 350° F. Bake another 30 minutes or until the internal temperature is 190° F or a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the bread.
- Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes. Run a knife around the bread pan to loosen the bread from the sides. Turn upside down (it’s still hot so use pot holders), and remove from the bread pan. Let cool and enjoy!
Honey – If you use candied fruits like I did, then 1 Tbsp. honey is probably all you need. However, with dried fruit or if you want the bread a little sweeter, you might want to increase the honey to 2 Tbsp.
Dried or Candied Fruit – One of the nice things about this fruit and nut bread is you can use pretty much whatever you have. A mix of three different flavors is quite nice, so just open up the pantry and refrigerator and use what you have on hand. I’m already planning on using dried cherries, candied watermelon rind (I made A LOT last year ), and dates with walnuts in the next loaf.
Nuts - Again, use what you have on hand and whatever complements the fruit. For breads, you can’t beat pecans and walnuts, but I wouldn’t hesitate to use pinon or almond either, or possibly even a few sunflower seeds.
French Toast with Fruit and Nut Bread
Last weekend for Sunday Brunch, I used the last of a loaf of Fruit and Nut Bread to make French Toast. Oh yeah – sounds good doesn’t it? Well, it was! I topped the French toast with some blueberries, warm maple syrup and for fun – a dollop of whipped cream. We really didn’t need the whipped cream, but there was a little left in the can, so why not? [Bob snap off this picture with his phone before he dug in.]
French Toast with Fruit and Nut Bread Recipe
4 slices of fruit and nut yeast bread, about ¼ – ½ inch thick
2 medium to large eggs
½ cup milk
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 generous dashes of cardamom powder
fresh fruit and warm maple syrup
- Whisk together the eggs, milk, syrup and cardamom.
- Pour into a wide shallow bowl, large enough for the 4 pieces of bread (if possible).
- Add the bread. Let sit in the egg mixture for a few seconds, then flip over.
- Heat up a griddle over medium heat.
- When the griddle is hot, coat with a little butter and place the egg soaked bread on the griddle.
- Let cook about 2 minutes per side or until nicely browned on both side and the egg cooked through.
- Top with fruit, warm maple syrup and whipped cream (if desired).
If you like this Fruit and Nut Yeast Bread, then you might also enjoy some of these breads:
This Fruit and Nut Yeast Bread has been shared with the following blogs: The Weekend Social .