Page 48 - PastryNA2012_2

Basic HTML Version

Artisan Baker
46 Pastry & Baking North America
Publisher’s Note:
Ciril Hitz is the Department
Chair for the International Baking and Pastry
Institute at Johnson & Wales University in
Providence, Rhode Island. He has been recognized
both nationally and internationally with numerous
awards and accomplishments. More information on
Ciril and his work can be viewed on his web site:
The hazelnut: one of nature’s perfect creations.A single
bite into this small round nut, sometimes referred to
as a filbert, reveals its luxurious feel and distinctively
rich flavor. It always amazes me that hazelnuts have not
enjoyed the same rock-star status they do in Europe
where they are commonly used in both the kitchen and
bakeshop.Thankfully, that is changing and this versatile nut
is garnering more of the spotlight.
My love affair with hazelnuts has been with me since
childhood.We used to spend many of our holidays with
my mother’s aunt in a small mountain village along the
Lake of Thun. Each time we made the trip, we would
stop along the way at a small bakery in Zurich to buy 8
to 12 loaves of wonderfully delicious hazelnut bread.The
smell of fresh bread and toasted hazelnuts would fill the
car for the next few hours and I could have survived on
the aroma alone.
I developed this bread formula to reflect certain
qualities that made a lasting impression in my mind. For
me, the toasted nutty flavor of the bread is the highlight
and the fermentation plays second fiddle.While I have a
special affinity for the hazelnut with this bread, I know
from experience other toasted nuts can be substituted
with great results. Don’t be afraid to try a mixture of
nuts or add some dried fruit as an alternative.When
I truly want to break my Swiss nature, I mix in small
chunks of blue cheese and use this bread to make an
over-the-top grilled cheese sandwich.
Whatever the approach, each time I bake this bread
it brings me back to a little bit of my childhood. Its
hearty nut flavor lends itself to both sweet and savory
applications. I invite you to try this hazelnut bread and
let its path take you along a journey... who knows, you
may just find yourself on a mountain road through the
Totally Toasted
Hazelnut Loaf