The original recipe for this Apricot and Oat bread comes from Richard Bertinet’s Dough and I have changed it slightly. I love fruit breads but have never made one with just apricots: usually they would be combined with nuts or other fruit but I probably shouldn’t have been surprised at how sweet this loaf turned out to be despite no added sugar in the dough. The recipe says to make two or four loaves and I made mine into two: one to use straight away and another for the freezer. It’s a great breakfast bread (you don’t need any jam) and would be good with cheese as well.
My loaves didn’t turn out to look quite like the picture in the book. Either I have the wrong type of oats (cut too small, maybe) or I was a little over-enthusiastic with the coating. As it was I didn’t even manage to get half the amount required to actually stick to the dough and there was no room for any more. I think you can safely assume that a sprinkling of oats, rather than 80g, will suffice. Next time I think I would be tempted to put some of the oats into the dough instead.
When I started making this loaf we had some of the heaviest rain we have had in a long time. The sky was so dark and heavy that it was very difficult to get decent photos but it was actually very therapeutic kneading dough with the rain beating down.
300g strong wholemeal flour
200g strong white flour
15g fresh yeast
200g dried apricots (chopped)
Oats for coating
Put the flours into a bowl and rub in the yeast. Add the salt and mix.
Pour in the water and mix to a dough.
Turn out onto a surface and knead for about five to ten minutes: until the dough is soft and silky.
Add the chopped apricots and continue to knead until they are evenly distributed.
Put the dough into a well oiled bowl and cover with oiled clingfilm or a tea towel.
Leave to rise until it has doubled in size.
Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead briefly. Divide into two or four pieces and shape into balls. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Mould each ball into a loaf shape and brush the tops and sides of the loaves with water.
Roll in the oats until they are generously (but not too generously) coated.
Put the loaves onto a well oiled baking tray and make three slashes across the top of the loaves.
Leave for around an hour or until the loaves have nearly doubled in size.
Heat the oven to 200ºC and bake the small loaves for around 15-20 minutes, or the larger loaves for 25-30 minutes. The base should sound hollow when tapped.
Allow to cool on a wire rack.