Last Spring I was visiting family in Barcelona, where around the block from my cousin’s flat is a Baluard bakery outpost. The other day I ran across some photos that reminded me of their fantastic Pan de frutas secas. I did some very advanced online research (ie: zooming in on Instagram photos of tourist visits to Baluard shops to read the tiny bakery display signs) to remind myself what it was that was so delicious. Here is my attempt at recreating their lovely loaf.
It’s pretty high-hydration and addition of butter gives it a moist, soft texture. I included a very small amount of commercial instant yeast to ensure fluffy loft, though I will make it in the future without, to see if it’s needed. Like the Baluard loaf, it’s chock-full of sweet fruits and crunchy nuts, making it a treat on it’s own. This is a pretty filling bread, so I’ve scaled each loaf to a smaller size from my usual.
I can’t believe it’s not better with butter! and as of yet, I have not toasted a slice. It’s just perfect as is.
Pan de Frutas Secas
375g (75%) Water
100g (20%) 100% sourdough starter
450g (90%) Bread flour
50g (10%) Whole-wheat flour
pinch (1/8t) Instant dry yeast
10g (2%) Fine sea salt
56g (11%) softened butter
30g (6%) toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
30g (6%) toasted, whole almonds, roughly chopped
75g (15%) dried apricots, roughly chopped
75g (15%) dates, roughly chopped
In a large bowl, combine 350 g warm water (about 75F/24C) with sourdough starter. Add flours and combine with water until dough holds together in a loose ball. Cover and let sit (autolyze) at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Add the remaining 25ml water, and the salt and combine well.
Soften butter to a soft, creamy texture, and chop the fruits and nuts, if you have not already. Set aside.
Begin 2-3 hour bulk ferment at room temperature, with turns (folds) every 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, do your first turn, and incorporate the fruits, nuts, and butter at the same time. They will become more incorporated with each turn, every 30 minutes for 2-3 hours.
Bulk fermentation is complete when your dough is loftier, fuller, and has good extensibility as well as elasticity, qualities you’ve been developing through the stretch, fold and degas process of doing your turns. If you poke it, the depression should remain.
Now we’re ready to start shaping the loaves. Before starting, you’ll need a brotform or banneton to place your shaped dough into. The dough spends its final rise in the form, or alternatively, an overnight retard in a cool place, until it’s time to bake. If you don’t have one of these specialized baskets, you can use a good fitting bowl lined with a piece of clean cotton cloth. Whichever you use, make sure they are nicely dusted with flour to prevent sticking. All purpose flour or bread flour are fine, but an equal mixture of either of these and rice flour does an especially good job.
Divide dough into two equal portions (about 625g each). Fold in half, creating a smooth outer skin, then use your lightly flour-dusted hands to rock the dough in gentle arcs along the horizontal work surface, easing the dough’s raw edges to the underside with the pinky-side of your hands to create a round form with good surface tension above. Cover with a cloth and rest for about 15 minutes.
One at a time, turn the rounds over, flatten and de-gas gently, forming into big, thick pancake shapes. Form into a boule by stretching and folding sides of the rounds to just past center, and gently pinching together (see photos, below). Place in your round brotform, seam sides up, cover with cloth, then lay a piece of plastic over to prevent drying. Retard in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.
The following day, bake. Place two lidded cookers in the oven and preheat oven to 500F. Invert a boule into each cooker and score with a sharp razor, taking care with your hand and the sides of the hot pan. Replace the lids, and place in preheated oven. Reduce heat to 450F and bake for 25 minutes. Remove lids and bake an additional 20 minutes, until crust has taken on a dark, tawny hue.
Cool and eat before anyone else gets home. MUAHAHAHAHA!!!
Nah, sharing is much more fun.