Apricot and cob nut batard- VEGAN MOFO 2013

Its getting very autumnal in my neck of the woods, that means squash soup  and hearty stews to me! If your planning on indulging in a creamy butternut/pumpkin kind of soup any time soon, then this is a bread you want in your life! The cobnuts can be subbed for hazelnuts but foraging for the cobnuts would make it more fantastical in the long run, that way you can fully enjoy the seasonal bounty, get in there quick though! Cobnuts are a favourite of grey squirrels so they will snatch them up in no time if you leave it too late….
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Ingredients:
3 cups strong white bread flour. plus extra for kneading
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups tepid water
1 tbsp unrefined golden sugar
1 tbsp fresh yeast
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 cup chopped lightly toasted cobnuts (can sub hazelnuts)
1 cup chopped dried apricots

Method:
Mix together he flour and the salt in a mixing bowl. Mix the yeast, sugar, oil and water in another bowl, add the wet into the dry and mix together until you have a dough. Transfer to a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until you have a springy, silky and elastic dough. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, toss the dough to coat it in the oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap, leave your dough to rise for 1 1/2- 2 hours, then sprinkle in the apricots and the chopped cobnuts. Punch the nuts and fruit into the dough and then knead the dough slightly to distribute them more evenly throughout the dough.  Shape into a batard/ oval loaf and place on a parchment lined baking sheet to rise up for another 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220c/420f and place a metal dish of freshly boiled water in the base of the oven. Allow the oven to come fully up to temp again before baking the loaf for about 35-45 minutes, until you have a good crust, transfer the bread to a cooling rack to cool completely before slicing.

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