A “Mini Meal”: Wholemeal Pecan Rolls

“Have nuts and be nuts.” Criss Jami

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All brown flours belong to one of the following categories: wholemeal, wholewheat, wheatmeal or brown. In practical terms, for most cookery book authors, wholemeal and wholewheat are the same things. Wholemeal is, however, controlled by regulations and means the whole grain is milled, with no other ingredients added or no parts removed. Wholemeal flour is harder to handle because it contains all the grain offal and is therefore, heavier, so some millers add malt flour to achieve an easier to use, naming it wholewheat, that is not defined in the regulations, therefore, can be manipulated and with attractive marketing easily sold to the average, good-willed baker. Wheatmeal means the same as brown flour which is not a wholemeal. Like wholewheat, the term wheatmeal has been abolished by regulating bodies.

“The peasants of Sicily, who have kept their own wheat and make their own natural brown bread, ah, it is amazing how fresh and sweet and clean their loaf seems, so perfumed, as home-made bread used all to be before the war.” D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930) ‘Sea and Sardinia’

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Ingredients
225 g wholemeal flour
1 level teaspoons salt
140 ml hand-hot water
1/2 level teaspoon brown sugar
20 g fresh yeast
1/2 level teaspoon butter
100 g chopped pecan nuts, plus whole nuts to decorate
a little extra flour

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Method
Measure the flour into a bowl, add the salt and mix thoroughly together. To prepare the yeast measure the hand-hot water into a jug, then pour half of it into another jug or bowl. Sprinkle the sugar and then the yeast into one lot of water, stir and leave aside till a good 2 cm frothy head has formed. Rub the butter in the flour, then make a well in the center, stir the yeast liquid and pour it into the well. Pour the other liquid into the yeast jug to rinse it out, then add this to the flour, gradually stirring with a wooden spoon at first and then finishing off with hands, until a smooth dough is achieved. Transfer the dough on to a flat working surface and knead it thoroughly for about ten minutes, by which time it will have become very elastic and springy. Knead in the pecans. Divide the dough into eight portions to form the rolls (based on preferred roll shape). Ultimately, stretch each piece into an oblong and fold one end into the middle and the other end over that. Then, with the folds underneath, slap the roll into a round ball. Place the rolls on to the well-greased baking sheets, cover with a sheet of oiled clingfilm. Leave the rolls to rise until they have doubled in size (35-40 minutes). Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 220°C. When the rolls have risen, sprinkle them with flour, place a pecan nut on the top and bake them on a high shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes. They should sound hollow when you tap them underneath if they are cooked enough. Cool the rolls on a wire cooling rack.

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“There were pecans, there were cashews and then there was just plain nuts.” Mary Hughes

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