Wake and Bake: Whole Wheat Apricot Walnut Bread
Here's my current favorite snack: A thick slice of hearty bread and some sharp cheese washed down by a pint of hoppy beer. It feels very mountain man, a little Oktoberfest, and definitely on point for fall.
Living close as I do to purveyors of Acme, it would be easy to never make my own bread, only buy theirs, and die a happy death. But occasionally I want to use that beautiful cherry red stand mixer that sits on my counter whispering "freshbakedbreadfreshbakedbread", so I decided to make my own, pulling inspiration from their whole wheat-fruit loaves like the Spelt Levain with Pears and the Cranberry Whole Wheat Raisin Walnut.
I wanted this to be substantive, restorative bread, so it's nutty, lightly sweet, and very whole wheat-y. The walnuts don't just add that important crunchy texture, their toasted nuttiness really improves the flavor of the bread. Same with the apricots; they add chew, but more importantly, also act like a built-in dollop of jam.
The crumb is a little dense but soft and, because it's yeast-risen, it's still much lighter than a quick bread. The top gets a thin, golden toasted skin and maple syrup adds a mellow sweetness. I would eat it plain, warm, or toasted with some butter. And of course, topped with some sharp cheese and washed down by a cold beer.