This bread is so good I’ve been making it all year round since last Lent. I was thining of making it today and some of Dom’s colleagues were asking for the recipe I thought I’d post it here with some of my tweaks. (Original recipe found at Catholic Cuisine can be found here. It has all kind of notes on the symbolic meaning of ingredients. That’s not really my style, so I omitted it, but if you like to bake with kids and have a lesson attached, go check it out.)
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup oats – soaked in 1/2 cup hot water for 2 minutes
1 cup pecan or walnut pieces – broken and skillet toasted 2 min
1 cup dried cherries or raisins or cranberries or currants – soaked 5 min in 1/4 cup hot water (I usually use half cranberries and half currants. Yum.)
1. Combine the first three dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well with a whisk.
2. Clear a small area in the center of the dry blend.
3. Add sugar, dry yeast, and the 2 cups of warm water. Let stand for 3 minutes until yeast proofs and forms bubbles. Combine with flour mixture and liquid. This will be thick but more liquid comes later.
4. Add maple syrup, olive oil. Stir mixture until well blended.
5. Add toasted nuts and dried fruits with their liquid.
6. Add soaked oats to the flour mixture.
7. Blend everything together in one bowl.
8. Turn out onto a floured board and knead by hand for 10-12 minutes adding more flour as needed to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead the dough by flattening somewhat and fold-in from the outside towards the center. Press down hard on the center. Rotate the bowl and repeat the process until smooth and elastic and forma “ball”
9. Rub the mixing bowl with olive oil, Return the ball to the mixing bowl, turn to coat with oil, cover and let rise 1 hour.
10. Remove to a floured board and kneed several more times as above. Cut into three equal pieces.
11. Place each piece into a loaf pan coated on all sides with olive oil. Or form dough into loaf shapes and put on a parchment paper lined pan. Drizzle loaf again with olive oil, cover and let rise for another hour. Olive oil produces a tasty crust.
12. Slash loaf tops and bake in the middle of a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes or until brown on top and bottom. Loaf should sound hollow when tapped.
13. Remove bread from pans and cool on a rack.
This bread is great on its own or spread with butter. It makes awesome toast too. It’s Anthony’s favorite bread.