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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Golden Date Bread

Late again to post this, but the week was fairly busy. This bread was made the same time as the No-knead Ciabatta. The recipe is from Laurel Robertson's book, 'The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book', which has become the new go-to book for bread these days. The recipes are done within the day but require substantial amount of kneading.

The Golden Date Bread recipe, uses pitted dates for the sweetener, the rest of the ingredients are the usual; whole wheat flour, yeast, salt and butter. The recipe suggests ½ C (89 g) of pitted dates for one loaf but says the quantity could be halved for a less sweet bread. I used 4 large medjool dates, which came to about 60 g. I was lazy to cook them with water in a saucepan, I microwaved them, in 3 rounds of 1 minute each (Thankful that I had kept a screen over the container). The mixture didn't blend into a gooey mass like the book said it should be, so I blended them a bit with a hand mixer. The saucepan method would probably have worked better.

Ingredients ready.

The mixture was supposed to cool enough to not kill the yeast, I waited till it was about 103° F. When mixing the dough, it seemed much warmer than usual and I was afraid it would kill the yeast. So I kept the bowl in the fridge for about 4 minutes. I'm not sure if that did anything.

Barely mixed in, before autolyzing (resting) for 5 minutes

The butter was mixed in towards the end of the 20 minute kneading.

Ready for the first rise

The bread hadn't risen impressively after 90 minutes, but a wet finger poke suggested that it was done. So I reshaped it and let it rise again. Normally the second rise takes about half the time of the first rise, but I decided to let it rise longer, about 70 minutes.

After the second rise.

I'm getting better at shaping the dough using LR's method. This dough ended up proofing for pretty long because I had something else consuming the oven. At this point my expectations from this dough weren't very high. I messed up the slashing as well.


Much longer rise time than usual

Poor slashing

The bread
Surprise, surprise! Oven spring! The bread registered a good 207° F after 45 minutes so I got it out, but it wouldn't release from the pan. After waiting for 5 or so minutes I loosened it a bit with a spatula (note the rough sides on the loaf). I put it back in the oven (turned off) for 5 minutes to strengthen the sides (not sure that did anything)

Surprise oven spring

Sliced decently well.

The tofurky sandwiches we made with the thin slices fell apart a bit. The almond butter sandwich was wonderful. There isn't any extra sweetness from the dates, they just replaced the honey I would normally use.

Decent but crumbly crumb

Date: Feb 27, 2011
Recipe: Golden Date Bread from Laurel Robertson's book, 'The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book'

Flours: Whole wheat flour
Bread specific ingredients: Pitted chopped dates
Sweetener used: Dates
Liquid: Water

First rise: 90 minutes
Second rise: 75 minutes (followed by rounding and 10 minutes of rest)
Proofing time: About 100 minutes
Comments: Next time I will cook the dates in a saucepan and be more patient for the date mixture to cool down sufficiently. Added 1 tsp vital wheat gluten to help with the rise. The recipe suggests using sesame oil instead of the butter and adding sesame seeds to the dough to make a Date-Sesame Bread (dates supposedly are dynamite with sesame). That might be interesting. I also want to try to make LR's breads with vegetable/canola oil instead of butter.

Time to go make a sandwich for lunch.



  1. Your poor slashing probably helped you here; if your bread overproofs, you don't want to slash deeply, because otherwise you'll lose too much gas and the yeast won't be creating much more in the oven. If you ever have an underproofed bread that needs to go into the oven, slash really deep, as the oven spring will be out of control and will burst your bread otherwise.

  2. Thank you for that piece of information Josh. I shall keep that in mind next time I slash my bread. Peter Reinhart says the slash should be shallow, almost parallel to the surface of the dough with the blade held at a 45° angle. That is what I usually try to do.
    Just curious, how did you find my blog? (Find, as in get to this url, not find as in writing style/design. I know the photos need a lot of work)

  3. I found it through the Exorphin Junkie blog, which I have been following for a little bit now.