Raisin-Pecan Rye Bread

Recipe by PJ Hamel

There's something very right about the combination of rye flour, raisins, and pecans. The subtle, earthy flavor of rye, the nuttiness of the pecans, and the offsetting sweetness of raisins combine to make a bread whose flavor seems to hit all parts of your tongue and taste buds at once. This dense, moist bread is delicious spread with butter (toasted or not); or serve it with Roquefort or another assertive cheese.

20 mins
50 to 55 mins
11 hrs 40 mins
16 servings
Raisin-Pecan Rye Bread


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  1. To make the biga: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Stir 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.

  2. To make the dough: The 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, gently deflate it, and knead in the nuts and fruit.

  5. Shape the dough into a slightly flattened ball and place it on a greased sheet pan, or into a bread baking bowl or 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Remove the bread from the oven and cool it on a rack.

  8. Store, well-wrapped, at room temperature for 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.