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Carob bread

I could live by eating only one bread..but it has to be this one!

One of the most traditional products of Crete is Carob (χαρούπι). It’s derived from the homonymous tree that grows in the Mediterranean. The tree produces a legume-like fruit that can be ripened and eaten or ground to a flour and used in recipes, similar to cacao powder.

I love carob and I wrote in the past a post dedicated to it.

I use carob flour usually in cakes, but here I thought to transform my typical carob cake recipe to a bread one. Carob flour has a very strong character and taste and thus is not needed to add too much of it in the flour mix. I used as a base a blend of wheat (bread) flour and a good amount of stone-milled, whole grain dinkel (spelt). Since carob is naturally sweet, I enhanced this character with a bit of honey and some sultana raisins. Finally, I included in the recipe toasted hazelnuts.

Carob bread recipe

  • 350 gr strong, wheat bread flour

  • 200 gr whole grain spelt flour

  • 50 gr carob flour

  • 100 gr sourdough biga

  • 400 gr water

  • 50 gr sultana raisins (soaked for a couple of hours in water)

  • 50 gr hazelnuts (toasted)

  • couple of tablespoons honey

  • 7 gr salt

- The night before, take out the sourdough starter from the fridge, feed it with whole grain dinkel flour, add water and let it for 6-8 hours or overnight at room temperature, until a happy an active state (sourdough biga), ready to be used in the final dough.

- Mix the flours with the water in a bowl until flours fully hydrated, cover the bowl and let it rest (autolyse) for 3-4 hours.

- Add the salt, the honey and the sourdough biga, mix and shortly knead the dough (using a long autolyse period) the gluten network should be already well developed. Cover and let to rest for 30 min.

- Add the hazelnuts and the raisins, and stretch and fold few times to incorporate evenly the dried ingredients. Let it rest for 1-2 hours.

- Give another stretch and fold round, cover and let it continue fermenting in the fridge overnight.

- Next day start by preheating the oven at 230 °C. In the meantime, take the dough out from the fridge, transfer it to a working surface and do a quick pre-shaping, let it rest for 5 min, do the final shaping and put it in the oven.

- Bake for 30 min, then bring down the oven temperature to 180 °C and finish baking for another 30 min.

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