Fruit-and-Nut Rye Bread

This bread tastes even better the next day. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 15 min (plus 3 hours and 30 minutes of rising)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: One 9-by-5-inch loaf
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Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then roughly chop.
  2. Pour the hot water over the dried fruit in a bowl; let soak until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain the fruit, reserving the soaking liquid. Add more water to the liquid to equal 1 cup. Let the liquid cool to room temperature.
  3. Stir the bread flour, rye flour and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer with a wooden spoon. Make a well in the center and add the 1 cup soaking liquid, molasses and vegetable oil. Stir with the spoon until the mixture forms a stiff shaggy ball (there might be some patches of dry flour). Cover the dough with a lightly damp kitchen towel and let sit until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle the salt evenly on the dough. Knead with the dough hook on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and is very smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes. With lightly oiled hands, mix the nuts and dried fruit into the dough. Press down on the dough to remove any air pockets. Lightly oil the top. Cover with a lightly damp kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  5. Lightly oil a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. With oiled hands, gently deflate the dough in the bowl and transfer to the pan, pressing down until smooth and even. Push down and submerge any visible fruit or nuts on the top of the dough to keep them from burning during baking. Cover with a lightly oiled piece of plastic wrap and set aside until the dough rises 1 to 1 1/2 inches above the top of the pan, about 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 375˚ F. Brush the top of the loaf with water. Sprinkle some oats on top. Bake until the crust is dark brown and a thermometer inserted into the middle of the bread registers 200˚ F, 35 to 40 minutes (tent the bread with foil if it starts getting too dark). Remove the loaf from the pan and transfer to a rack to cool completely. 
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