No-Knead Cherry Chocolate Pecan Bread

While settling into our new home in Northern California and spending less time in Switzerland, we are rather desperately missing the huge variety of fantastic, freshly-baked breads available everywhere to meet demands of the bread-loving Swiss.  As we hunt around our new area seeking out good bread, I have begun baking my own. A recipe site I have always loved is King Arthur Flour.  One of my favorite of their bread recipes is No-Knead Cherry Chocolate Pecan Bread.  I made a few minor modifications to their recipe.  At the bottom of the post is a printable version of mine, the main variation from the original is when and how I incorporate the dried cherries, chocolate and toasted pecans.

Begin by measuring out unbleached white flour, whole wheat or white whole wheat flour and rye flour.

Place flours, salt and instant (rapid rise) yeast in a large bowl.  This type of yeast does not need to be activated in a liquid before combining with flour.

Whisk until thoroughly combined.

Measure out cool water.

Add to the flour and yeast mixture.

Mix until thoroughly combined and a soft dough forms.

I used my hands at this point to finish combining.

Place a tiny amount of a neutral-flavored oil (such as canola oil) in a clean bowl.

Form dough into a ball with lightly floured hands and place into the oiled bowl.  Flip over so all sides have a light coating of oil.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for at least 12 hours to rise until it has doubled in bulk.

While the dough is rising, prepare the filling.  Lay pecans in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake until fragrant (about 10 minutes) in a pre-heated 350°F / 180°C oven.  When cool, break or chop into small pieces.

Chop dried cherries.  Measure out semi-sweet chocolate.  If not using chips, roughly chop. (I used 6 different varieties of Swiss Felchlin.)

Rising time is a minimum of 12 hours.  I did not want to get up in the middle of the night so let it rise about 17 hours. It fell back a bit on itself but proved to be no problem in the final rising.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.

The original recipe said to fold the pecans, chocolate and dried cherries into the dough at the beginning and warns that anything sticking out of the top will burn during baking so should be pushed back under the dough.  I thought it might work better to add them later, jellyroll-style, using my cinnamon bread method.  So, with floured hands, gently coax the dough into a rectangular shape.

Spread the toasted pecans, chopped dried cherries and chocolate evenly over the dough, taking care to leave a 3/4 to 1 inch uncovered dough border.
 
Begin to roll from short end to short end.
Once the dough is completely rolled up, let it rest for 5 or 10 minutes, seam side down.
With floured hands, gently coax it into a circle.
Lightly oil a clean bowl.  Place the dough in the bowl, seam side up.  The smooth top should be facedown so it can later be flipped into the baking pan.
Let the dough rise in a warm place for 2 hours.  To determine if it is ready for baking, stick your finger gently into the dough.  If the impression remains, it is ready for the oven.
The bread should be baked in a pot or pan that can be pre-heated empty and, during baking, completely covered.  Ideally, 4 to 4 1/2 quarts or liters.  Ceramic, lidded baking dishes are an option, as are 9 inch round cake pans that can be fully covered during baking by a large pot or pan turned upside down.  I chose to use an enameled, cast iron Dutch oven that is slightly larger (10 inches in diameter) since I do not own a 9 inch.  This worked just fine and yielded a slightly flatter bread.  For easier removal after baking, I lined the pot with non-stick aluminum.  The easiest way to get it smooth and to the correct size is to flip the pan upside down and smooth the foil over the bottom.
Remove the foil, flip the pan right-side up and insert the foil into the pan.  Leave the overlap to use as handles after baking.  30 minutes before the end of the rising time, place the empty pan in the oven and set the temperature to 450°F / 230°C.
When the dough is done rising, go around the edges with a spatula or oiled fingers to release it from the bowl.  Flip the bowl upside down over the searing hot pan and drop the dough in, bottom up.  Gently giggle the pan to center and even out the dough.
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Cover it tightly with the lid (or, if using a cake pan, cover with an overturned larger pan).  Place in the hot oven and bake for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove the lid and return the partially-baked bread to the oven.
Bake, uncovered, another 20 minutes then check the internal temperature of the bread using an instant read thermometer.  Some pans conduct heat better than others so will bake the bread faster.  It should read 205°F / 96°C in the middle of the loaf when it is done.  Return to the oven to continue baking if it is not ready.

When the bread is done baking, remove it from the oven and lift the loaf out of the pan using the foil edges as handles.
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Let the loaf cool on a rack.
Slice and eat.
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This bread freezes beautifully, sliced or un-sliced.
No-Knead Cherry Chocolate Pecan Bread
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups (12¾ ounces or 361 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (2 ounces or 57 grams) rye flour
  • ½ cup (2 ounces or 57 grams) whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
  • 2½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • 1¾ cups (14 ounces or 414 ml) cool water
  • ¾ cup (3¼ ounces or 92 grams) chopped dried cherries
  • ½ cup (3 ounces or 85 grams) chocolate chips
  • 1½ cups (6 ounces or 170 grams) pecans, toasted then chopped
Instructions
  1. Place flours, salt and instant (rapid rise) yeast in a large bowl. (This type of yeast does not need to be activated in a liquid before combining with flour.)
  2. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add the water to the flour and yeast mixture.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, mix until thoroughly combined and a soft dough forms.
  5. Place a tiny amount of a neutral-flavored oil (such as canola oil) in a large, clean bowl.
  6. Using lightly floured hands, form the dough into a ball and place it in the oiled bowl. Flip over so all sides have a light coating of oil.
  7. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for at least 12 hours to rise, until doubled in size.
  8. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling:
  9. Lay pecans in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake until fragrant (about 10 minutes) in a pre-heated 350° F / 180°C oven. When cool, break or chop into small pieces.
  10. Chop the dried cherries.
  11. Measure out semi-sweet chocolate. If not using chips, roughly chop.
  12. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  13. With floured hands, gently coax the dough into a large, rectangular shape.
  14. Spread the toasted pecans, chopped dried cherries and chocolate evenly over the dough, taking care not to go right to the edge of the dough and leaving a dough border of about ¾ to 1 inch.
  15. Begin to roll, jellyroll style, from short end to short end.
  16. Once the dough is completely rolled up, let it rest for 5 or 10 minutes, seam side down.
  17. With floured hands, gently coax it into a circle.
  18. Lightly oil a clean bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, seam side up. The smooth top should be facedown so it can later be flipped into the baking pan.
  19. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 2 hours. To determine if it is ready for baking, stick your finger gently into the dough. If the impression remains, it is ready for the oven.
  20. Line a 9 to 10 inch, enameled Dutch oven pan with non-stick foil. The easiest way to get it smooth and to the correct size is to flip the pan upside down and smooth the foil over the bottom. Remove the foil, flip the pan right-side up and insert the foil into the pan. Leave the overlap to use as handles after baking.
  21. (Note: The bread should be baked in a pot or pan that can be pre-heated empty and, during baking, completely covered. Ideally, 4 to 4½ quarts or liters. Ceramic, lidded baking dishes are also an option, as are 9 inch round cake pans that can be fully covered during baking by a large pot or pan turned upside down.)
  22. Thirty minutes before the end of the rising time, place the empty, foil-lined pan in the oven and set the temperature to 450°F / 230°C to allow the pan to heat before adding the dough.
  23. When the dough has fully risen, go around the edges using a spatula or oiled fingers to release it from the bowl.
  24. Flip the bowl upside down over the searing hot pan and drop the dough in, bottom up.
  25. Gently giggle the pan to center and even out the dough.
  26. Cover it tightly with the lid (or, if using a cake pan, cover with and overturned larger pan).
  27. Place in the hot oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  28. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and return the partially-baked bread to the oven.
  29. Bake, uncovered, another 20 minutes then check the internal temperature of the bread using an instant read thermometer. Some pans conduct heat better than others so will bake the bread faster. It should read 205°F / 96°C in the middle of the loaf when it is done. Return to the oven to continue baking if it is not ready.
  30. When the bread is done baking, remove it from the oven and lift the loaf out of the pan using the foil edges as handles.
  31. When the bread is done baking, remove it from the oven and lift the loaf out of the pan using the foil edges as handles.
  32. Let the loaf cool on a rack before slicing.
  33. Note: This bread freezes beautifully, sliced or un-sliced.
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Comments

  1. Arlene Ward says:

    this is such a great surprise. I thought I lost you forever. I’m so impressed with your detailed instructions and can’t wait until I try another one of your fantastic recipes. Miss your friendship and wish you the best in California.

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