Swedish Apricot Walnut Bread was discovered by Rose at the Riddarbagariet bakery in Sweden. She bought their cookbook, had the recipe translated from Swedish to English and adapted it for the home baker in the Baking Bible. Lucky for us Rose went to Europe, visited this particular bakery and had the foresight to bring home the recipe ultimately working her artisan magic.
This recipe was a lesson in rye flour vs pumpernickel flour, the disappearance of flour mills in California what happened to the hippy health food grind your own flour shops and now a field trip to historic Napa Bale Grist mill is top of the list because they stone ground real pumpernickle flour, biga vs wild yeast starters (who knew they could be patent protected), natural leaveners are so entertaining Disney offers a tour through the Boudin bakery at Disneyland, gold rush miners and wild yeast sourdough bread's history are inextricably linked and opening the oven door after ice has been thrown in is guaranteed to fog glasses with an instant facial.
After the rye flour is stirred into a biga and given a refrigerated rest, it turns into dough with the addition of water, flour, yeast and salt. Raisins and walnuts are mixed in which kicks this rye based bread up a few notches into party mode. This is not your dad's toaster rye bread with seeds that get stuck in your teeth.
A bit of pummeling, resting, rising rotations, the very sticky dough is patted into a rectangle, top corners folded down and apricots lined up.to be rolled into a sort of roly poly pudding.
Baked with a handful of ice cubes for a steamy oven, the aroma begins to permeate the kitchen. Letting it cool for two hours was the hard part. The time was well spent with a trip to Whole Foods for Cowgirl Triple Cream Cheese, thanks to Michele for asking Rose which cheese would best compliment this bread. The outer crust was brushed with butter while warm for a softer crust.
Dollops of favorite Trader Joe's apricot jam accent the bread and cheese perfectly.
I couldn't resist throwing one under the broiler for a Swedish crostini.
It is my favorite. Toasting the bread brings out the flavors.