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Monday, July 5, 2010

Mango Almond Whole Wheat Bread

Don't worry, it's not all baked goodies forever and ever, but I haven't had time yet to go grocery shopping so my meal ideas are still just ideas.

I've been buying mangoes by the dozen, meaning to freeze them so I can enjoy the sweet-sour taste during a January blizzard, but they're so good I keep eating them fresh. I have a noodle recipe for later on with mangoes, but of course it wouldn't be The Cookery if I didn't try to make a mango type bread.

This one uses dried mangoes. Try to make sure you get the sugar free dried mango, no one really needs all that sugar, as delicious as it is. I accidentally bought the sweetened slices, so that's what I ended up using.

Now, full disclosure, I'm not a huge fan of whole wheat bread. It's dry and heavy and usually tastes like cardboard. Well not this one! The dried fruit melts during baking and keeps the bread moist while spreading the flavour around. In the end you have a nice crisp outside with a beautiful fluffy moist interior.

Mango Almond Bread
2 very large loaves (3 regular sized ones)


5 c. warm water
2 tsp. active dry yeast
6 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. vital wheat gluten*
1/2 c. light brown sugar
scant 2 tbsp. salt
3-4 c. all purpose flour
1 1/4 c. dried mango strips, cut into bite sized pieces
1 c. whole almonds


Add yeast to water in a large bowl and stir to dissolve completely. Add the whole wheat flour, 2 cups at a time, until you have a smooth batter. Cover and set aside for an hour, it'll be wicked bubbly and risen.

Sprinkle the brown sugar and the salt on top, then stir to combine. Add the remaining flour a 1/2 cup at a time, stirring and beginning to knead as it comes together. Turn out dough on to a floured surface, adding flour as necessary to prevent sticking, and knead 10 minutes. I just used my dough hook for 5 minutes on speed 2. Your dough should be smooth and elastic. Cut your dough in half, putting each half in a lightly oiled bowl to rise for another hour.

Press each dough into a rectangle and sprinkle on half the mango and half the almonds. Shape dough into loaves (poke in any escapee mangoes or almonds) and place into 2 buttered bread pans (9x5"). Leave to rise 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400F.

Just prior to putting the bread in the oven, make three diagonal slashes across the top. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until golden. The bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom and the corners are firm when pinched. (Why does that sound dirty?) Remove from pans immediately and place on racks to cool. Let rest at least a half hour before digging in.

Vital Wheat Gluten helps the bread rise by creating more strands of gluten; it's especially important in breads with a lot of whole wheat flour like this one. I buy the Bob's Red Mill brand. The directions recommend using 1 tbsp. for every cup of whole wheat flour, though in this recipe only 4 tbsp. are used and that's plenty.

I just had a slice toasted with cream cheese and it was super delicious. The mango gives just a bit of tang. In the future I think I'll stick to sliced or slivered almonds, or maybe even pumpkin seeds since my kid had issues with the whole almonds. It's hardly the point to bake this beautiful bread only to have to rip it apart to find and remove the almonds since they may induce a choking fit. The other issue with this bread is that I wouldn't want to make a sandwich with it; it would be too many competing flavours.

This bread would be perfect for breakfast, or sliced for company, or even as buns with a special (or not so special) supper.

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