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Ingredients

How to make it

  • 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.
  • 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

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