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Nuts are my favorite snack, when I’m starting to get hungry, and try to stay away from our little hoard of German chocolate bars (no, not that kind, I mean the real thing: Ritter Sport!)
I remember my mother coming home from her gynecologist’s office, always grabbing some chocolate, before she started cooking our dinner. I must have inherited that from her, same as her gene for high dessert priority.
Both combined are a sure recipe for waistline disaster, but I have my first aid in the kitchen drawer, almonds or walnuts: good fat plus high fiber.
Being an optimist, I even planted hazelnuts in our garden, hoping for a harvest some year soon.
|My precious little hazelnut|
I’m very fond of baking with nuts, too, whether in cakes (Hazelnut Chocolate Cake) or breads. But when I started baking breads for sale, I was confronted me with a dilemma.
In Europe, hazelnuts are abundant, they grow wild, are easy to cultivate, and very tasty. And cheap! But here in the US, they cost a fortune and are often hard to find. So I had to use a different kind of nut for my breads in order to keep them affordable for my customers.
For this recipe, adapted from “Brot aus Südtirol“, pecans are a great alternative. The rolls taste a little different, but equally good. (Much as I like walnuts, here there are not a good choice).
Meanwhile, thanks to Trader Joe’s, I can get hazelnuts for a reasonable price and good quality. With Aldi, the popular German chain for cheap skates, as parent company, they offer a lot of European goods.
Whenever we are in Portland, Maine, we stock up on Irish butter, German beer, Italian truffle cheese, and, of course, HAZELNUTS!
|Toasted hazelnuts or pecans – you cant go wrong with either|
PECAN OR HAZELNUT ROLLS
340 g/12 oz water (at 95ºF/35ºC)
5 g/0.18 oz instant yeast
150 g/5.3 oz hazelnuts or pecans, toasted
350 g/12.4 oz Italian 00 flour*)
100 g/3.5 oz rye flour
50 g/1.8 oz spelt flour
10 g/0.35 oz salt
5 g/0.18 oz light brown sugar
1 egg, mixed with 2 tsp. water, for egg wash
hazelnuts or pecans, whole or chopped, for decoration
*) can be substituted with pastry flour, but NOT with all-purpose flour!
Stir yeast in warm water to dissolve.
Place toasted nuts in food processor, and ground to a coarse meal with some larger pieces remaining. (If you prefer a finer meal, add some of the flour to the nuts to prevent them from turning into nut butter!).
Add all dough ingredients to mixing bowl. Mix at low speed (or with a large wooden spoon) for 1 – 2 minutes, until all flour is hydrated. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
Resume kneading at medium-low speed (or by hand), adjusting with a little more water if needed (dough should be a bit sticky). Knead for 6 more minutes (dough should still be more sticky than tacky)
Transfer dough to an oiled (or lightly wet) work surface, and, with wet or oiled hands, pat and stretch it into a rough rectangle. Then fold it from top and bottom in thirds like a business letter and repeat this folding from both sides. Gather dough into a ball, and place, seamside down, in a lightly oiled bowl.
Cover, and let dough rest for 10 minutes. Repeat the stretching and folding process 3 times, at 10 minute intervals. After the last fold, place dough in oiled container and refrigerate overnight.
Shape cold dough first into 12 rolls, then roll them with your hands into strands. Place rolls on perforated or parchment lined baking sheet. Using a metal spatula (or back of a knife), press a deep crease lengthwise in each roll (don’t cut through bottom!). Brush rolls with egg wash, and decorate with nuts.
Mist rolls with spray oil, cover, and let rise for 45 – 60 minutes at room temperature, or until they have grown 1 1/2 times their original size, and stay dimpled when poked. In the meantime, preheat oven to 410ºF/210ºC.
Re-press the crease, if necessary. Bake rolls for 12 minutes, rotate baking sheet 180 degrees, and continue baking for another 12 minutes, or until they are rich golden brown.
Let rolls cool on wire rack.
(Based on Richard Ploner’s Haselnussbrot from “Brot aus Südtirol“)
|Hazelnut Rolls, lighter in color than Pecan Rolls|
Completely updated and re-written post (from June 2011)