Lots of fun stuff going on in this recipe: bread made with nothing but macerated dried fruit and almond flour, and the old parchment paper and ruler trick. What’s not to like?
I am no stranger to fruitcake (my late step-father was one of the rare souls who loved it and I made it for him every Christmas for over forty years.) So I know that you can hold together a lot of dried fruits and nuts with very little batter. But when I dumped almond flour on top of dried fruit that had been soaked in spiced orange juice then squeezed dry, I had to have faith in Dorie that it would actually become a dough if I kept mixing. And it did.
In the past, I stubbornly refused to use Dorie’s method of using parchment paper and a ruler to form a tight log of dough. I was unsure that I could make it work. But I am a believer now. Not only did it work, but it’s easy and fun. The tightening of the paper around the dough pushes out any air bubbles to eliminate holes in the baked bread.
I found my bread needed longer than the suggested 90 minutes to get the deep brown Dorie describes, more like 95 minutes. After they cooled completely, I wrapped the loaves in parchment and foil to allow them to ripen. Only one loaf got to ripen, we were just too tempted. The bread is delicious, not as sweet as fruitcake, allowing the delicious dried fruits to shine.