Orange Saffron Pine-Nut Bread - Rancho La Puerta
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Orange Saffron Pine-Nut Bread

Makes 2 loaves


  • 1 teaspoon Spanish saffron threads
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup agave syrup or maple syrup
  • Zest of 2 large oranges
  • 1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 4 to 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed


1. Soak the saffron threads in 1/2 cup of the water for 30 minutes.

2. Combine the remaining 3 1/2 cups of water and the yeast. Let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes.

3. Stir the syrup, orange zest, saffron, melted butter, and salt into the yeast until thoroughly combined. Add the wheat flour and mix until smooth.

4. Stir in the pine nuts and most of the all-purpose flour, reserving 1 cup. The dough should be a little sticky. Flour the countertop with some of the remaining flour and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, adding flour to the surface as needed to make the dough manageable. You may not use all the flour, or you may need a little more. The final dough should feel moist and a little tacky, but not sticky or wet.

5. Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Turn over once to coat, and cover with a barely damp tea towel to prevent the dough from drying out. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until it has doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

6. Punch down the dough. Divide into 2 equal portions. Spread or roll each portion into a rectangle and pinch the edges together.

7. Place each loaf in an oiled loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until the loaves have doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes.

8. Bake in a preheated 375-degree F oven for one hour, or until the tops are browned and the loaves sound hollow when tapped. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.