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Wild rice and pecan bread

February 2, 2014


Two ingredients here give a nutty, nutritious flavor to an nearly 5o% whole wheat bread.  Pecans are ready to pick here in Texas from mid fall through early winter.  Pecan trees are very common in neighborhoods or parks though squirrels will very likely beat you to your personal home grown harvest.   So that’s the time when family and friends may go on “foraging expeditions”.  As youngsters, we would visit aunts and uncles and help gather pecans.  That’s when we’d hear the latest “news” or about past glory days.  Recently pecans have seemed smaller than usual.  I wonder if the very hot and dry summers we’ve had lately are the cause.  A nutcracker has been especially useful since the smaller  pecans are much harder to crack by hand.  You know that old time footage of early attempts of flying by intrepid inventors and their willing assistants.  I’d be interested to see a museum of history exhibit of nutcrackers.  There would be the successful inventions and designs,  the less successful ones,  and even the failed attempts.  Can you imagine what some of the early tries may have been like?  The very practical original spring jointed metal nutcracker with pick we are all familiar with was invented in 1878 by inventor Henry Quackenbush.   If you are wondering, Groucho Marx’s character in “A Day at the Races”  was Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush.

Wild rice of course has been an important food source to many native North American Indians tribes.  Three kinds of wild rice are indigenous to the U.S. while one is found in China.  In case you didn’t know,  wild rice is actually a grass not related to rice.  It also refers to the grain that is harvested from it.  While a simple pecan bread makes a nice tasting loaf,  the wild rice adds a little more depth to the flavor.  You have to taste for it since it’s not very noticeable at first.  I think rosemary is good option to substitute for sage  though I’d be careful on the quantity.



This recipe will make 2 medium size loaves.

The poolish:

2 1/2 cups bread flour

1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

1 1/2 cups water at room temperature

The final dough:

The poolish

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

2 tablespoons agave syrup or honey

2 1/4 teaspoons table salt

about 3/4 cups buttermilk at room temperature

1 cup cooked wild rice

1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage (optional)


To make the poolish:

In a medium size mixing bowl stir together the flour and yeast. Add the water and mix until all the flour is moistened and the mixture looks like thick pancake batter. Cover with plastic and let it sit out until it becomes bubbly.  It will take 3 or 4 hours depending on the temperature of the kitchen.   Even though it is ready to use,  I like to put it the refrigerator overnight for further development.


Cook raw wild rice by bringing to boil at least 1 1/2 cups water in a medium size pot.  Add 1/2 cup raw wild rice and bring to a simmer.  Make sure to cook the rice until the grains have opened.  This is important because rice that didn’t soften may give some hard brittleness to the finished bread.  Add more water if necessary during cooking .  Strain and let cool. This may be done the night before.  It’ll make more than you need for the recipe,  so enjoy the extra wild rice on it’s own.

Toast the pecans in a baking sheet in a 325 degree oven for about 10 to 15 minutes.  Let them cool down.


To make the dough:

If you have an overnight poolish, take it out of the refrigerator an hour or 2 before you plan to make the dough.

Put the poolish,  the whole wheat flour,  yeast,   salt,  and sage ( if using) in your mixing bowl.  Stir together thoroughly.  Add most of the room temperature buttermilk and stir to form a shaggy dough.  Add more buttermilk if it appears that the dough is too dry.  With the hook attachment,  mix the dough until you have a smooth ever so slightly sticky dough that clears the sides of the bowl. Adjust with more flour or buttermilk if necessary.  Mixing will take about 5 to 7 minutes.  Take the dough out of the mixer onto a cutting board or work surface.  Gradually and gently knead in the wild rice and pecans.  Form the dough into a round and place in a bowl or container.  Cover with plastic and let ferment until double in size.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into 2 portions. Form  them into boules or batards as desired.  Put each of them on parchment paper and cover with plastic.  Sometimes I lightly spray the dough with oil so that the plastic doesn’t adhere.  It depends on how wet the dough is.  Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.  Use your baking stone if you have one.  The parchment paper makes it easy to slide the loaves onto the stone.  Let the loaves proof until double in size.

When ready remove the plastic,  and slash the loaves as desired.  I sprinked them with some cornmeal before scoring them.  Slide them onto the stone and immediately lower the temperature to 375 degrees.  The oven is at a lower than usual temperature because the buttermilk will cause  the crust to brown more rapidly.  The bread is ready in about 20 minutes. Be sure to check from time to time.  Use foil to cover if they are browning too soon.  The bread is ready when the internal temperature is 200 degrees F.


16 Comments leave one →
  1. Marcella Rousseau permalink
    February 2, 2014 8:56 pm

    This looks delicious! What would you pair with this?

  2. February 2, 2014 9:44 pm

    Thanks! I’ve been eating it with a little butter or as a panini sandwich with Oaxacan cheese. I bet it would go real good with your Native American pumpkin soup. It’s a versatile flavor of bread. Have a good Groundhog day Sunday!

  3. Reggie permalink
    February 2, 2014 11:14 pm

    Happy birthday big brother. Glad you could spend time doing what you love best and as usual always yummy.

  4. February 3, 2014 12:20 am

    Looks delicious! You always post tasty tasty tasty posts

  5. February 10, 2014 2:02 pm

    This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it! 🙂

  6. February 12, 2014 1:30 am

    I grew up in Texas, where the pecan is the state tree or state nut, or something like that. I think I was the only Native Texan who just never liked pecans, yet my wise old grandmother’s pecan pies were always the highlight of church pie auctions.

    • February 13, 2014 12:46 am

      Russel, For sure you’re the only Native Texan I know not to like pecans… It sounds like your wise old grandmother was a great home chef. Maybe her recipes live on in a personal notebook of hers. Of course, nobody would be able to duplicate her creations.

  7. ReloNavigator permalink
    February 26, 2014 3:52 am

    Looks like a delicious bread!

  8. ReloNavigator permalink
    February 26, 2014 3:53 am

    Reblogged this on ReloNavigator and commented:
    Take a new adventure with Wild rice and pecan bread!

  9. March 20, 2014 1:22 am

    MMMmmm… I would toast this bread and eat it warm with salted butter and honey…

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