Another delicious Jim Lahey recipe from My Bread.
This is an unusual bread in that though it's filled with fruit and nuts, it's not sweet. It makes wonderful toast for breakfast, and I love it smeared with apricot jam. It would also be fabulous in bread pudding.
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons bread flour
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
about 1 1/3 cups packed, quartered dried apricots
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon instant or other active dry yeast
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cool water
3 tablespoons unsalted smooth almond butter
3 tablespoons roughly chopped almonds
wheat bran and additional flour for dusting
In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, apricots, salt, and yeast. Blend the water and almond butter in a blender. Add to the flour mixture and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough without any lumps, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.
When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.
Place a tea towel on your work surface and dust it with wheat bran and 2 tablespoons of the chopped almonds. Gently place the dough on the almonds, seam side down. Sprinkle the top of the dough with the remaining chopped almonds and a light dusting of flour. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.
Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475F, with a rack in the lower third, and place a covered 4 1/2 to 5 1/2-quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.
Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. (Use caution--the pot will be VERY hot.) Cover the pot and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, about 10 minutes more. Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly.