A Treasure From The North
We used to take a week of vacation and drive to Lake Clitherall in Otter Tail County, Minnesota. We would stay in a rustic old fishing camp and my in-laws would go fishing twice a day, morning and again in late afternoon/early evening. The Walleye was wonderful, the fresh tomatoes were perfect, the corn-on-the-cob delicious. But what I really loved was the Raisin Rye bread from a small Swedish bakery in the town of Clitherall!
The combination of the rye flour with the raisins and pecans made this bread a real treat The subtle, earthy flavor of rye, the nuttiness of the pecans, and the offsetting sweetness of raisins combined to make a bread whose flavor seemed to delight the taste buds.. You could toast it for breakfast with some great local fresh butter and fold it around a big thick slice or two of crispy fried country style bacon and think you’d died and gone to heaven!
And at cocktail time….nothing beats a slice of the bread thickly spread with Roquefort or another assertive cheese and a glass of Somerset Ridge Ruby Red Wine!
I thought about that bread so many times through the years and finally decided to research it. The closest I have come to matching the Clitherall Bread is what I call
Minnesota Raisin Rye
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup (2 5/8 ounces) cool water
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 cup medium or light rye flour
1/2 cup pumpernickel flour
1 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup raisins
Make the biga by stirring together the yeast, flour, and water. The dough will be very stiff and dry. Place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and let it rest at room temperature overnight.
Next day, combine the biga with the remaining ingredients (except the pecans and fruit) in a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, mixing to form a shaggy, sticky dough. Knead the dough until smooth (even though it's smooth, it'll still be very sticky), then place it in a lightly greased bowl and let it rest for 1 hour; it will become quite puffy, though it may not double in bulk. The heavier rye and pumpernickel flours keep dough from becoming as light as white bread dough.Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, gently deflate it, and knead in the nuts and fruit. Shape the dough into a slightly flattened ball and place it on a greased sheet pan, or into a greased 9" round cake pan. Cover the pan with a proof cover or some lightly greased plastic wrap. Let the loaf rise for about 90 minutes, until it's puffy. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the bread for about 50 to 55 minutes (tenting it lightly for the final 15 minutes), until its interior registers 190°F to 195°F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the bread from the oven and cool it on rack. Yield: about 16 servings.
Hope you try it! God, I love to bake bread!