The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Fig Hazelnut Bread and Reheating

Flour.ish.en's picture

Fig Hazelnut Bread and Reheating

If you like the flavor of licorice in jelly beans or fennel in sausages, you may like ground anise in breads too. I have not used anise seeds before in breads. But, why not? This unique and warm spice enlivens the fig and hazelnut bread. For the start, the sweetness of dried figs and the smoky nutty notes of roasted hazelnuts bring big flavor to the bread. Just the right amount. The surprising finish of anise is merely the icing on the cake, I mean, the bread. There is just so much to like about this bread.

The specifics of the fig hazelnut bread are shown in the cheat sheet below. In summary, a 12-hour stiff levain build, 20% in whole wheat flour, about 70% hydration, one fold half way through the 2 ½-hour bulk ferment and a 2-hour final rise. This is a straight-forward formula I’ve borrowed and adapted from Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman.

I made two loaves, ate one and froze the second one (which I forgot to score late at night.) Once reheated, the second loaf develops an unexpected crunchy crust, even better than the freshly baked loaf (the slice standing up, right below) as I can remember. Hard to believe.

Here is the bread reheating setting which have worked well for me: full steam at 212°F for 7 minutes, then convection bake at 320°F with 20% humidity for 35 minutes. The timing may differ depending on the size of the bread. The bread usually goes directly from the freezer to the cold oven. In case you wonder, there are countertop convection steam ovens which are fairly affordable and priced competitively. They are not heavy duty enough for baking breads, but perfect for reheating.

What goes well with the fig hazelnut bread? A fig salad tossing together fresh figs, baby kale leaves, prosciutto and a simple dressing. On its face, I’m convinced that the sum is better than the parts, including the bread!



IceDemeter's picture

What a grand idea to add anise to figs and hazelnuts!  It is one of my favourite spices (unfortunately, though, I'm the only one in the house who likes it), and really enjoy finding new combinations with it.  I have to admit, though - your salad looks just as tempting as your bread...

That's really interesting that you're finding the crust texture is better after freezing and re-heating.  I've never frozen a whole loaf (I always slice and freeze / thaw as individually wrapped slices), but have wondered whether it would be a viable idea for preparing a variety of loaves for a dinner.  I've got your method here bookmarked to do a test for best results with my oven...

Many thanks for sharing - and keep baking happy!


Flour.ish.en's picture

I can't take credits for the idea of freezing breads. Before I knew how to bake bread and sourdough culture was just a figment of my imagination, I took an intensive artisan bread class at King Arthur Flour in Vermont. There I learned to freeze breads after they cool to keep them at their peak level of freshness, something similar to flash freezing. That's what I do all the times. I'd bake a variety of breads over times and freeze them. Refresh (or just have them come slowly up to room temperature) to feed big group of friends over a weekend and keep everyone happy with their bread choices. It works, even for foodie friends. It might take a few trials to get the timing right. Happy baking!

bread1965's picture

I've been lurking off an on over the summer as l haven't been able to bake and had family health stuff absorbing all my spare time and mental energy.. but this bread called my name.. so i book marked your recipe.. grate flavour combination, pictures, crumb texture, crust and as 'dab' would say - well baked! Truly lovely.. well done! And YUM! :)


Flour.ish.en's picture

Thanks so much for your kind words. It's a glorious thing to watch the bread dough rise and bloom. I hope you'll get over the hump soon. Keeping baking!

chouette22's picture

Both of your creations (bread and salad) look incredibly tempting and I have bookmarked your recipe. Will get to it soon!

Isand66's picture

Nice photography and write up as well.