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Roxana Jullapat’s Buckwheat Fruit-Nut Bread

Makes one 8-inch loaf

Remember that to make this bread you must make the dough the day before, so plan accordingly.

This bread is leavened naturally with sourdough starter. If you’ve never made sourdough bread from scratch, read How to Start and Maintain Your Own Sourdough Starter on page 102 (in Mother Grains). With starter on hand, you can follow the suggested Prep and Baking Schedule that follows. Even experienced home bakers are intimidated by the world of sourdough, but building a starter at home is far less confusing than you might think. It does require patience, plus precision when weighing ingredients. But the steps to keeping the starter healthy are simple and easy to follow, not to mention forgiving. Breads like this one, where add-ins are more integral to the flavor than the dough itself, are a good starting point for beginning bread bakers. The ratio of fruits and nuts is high in proportion to bread dough, and its inherently rustic appearance doesn’t require fancy shaping techniques. The bread can be baked into a boule, into a free-form oval-shaped loaf, or in a loaf pan.

Buckwheat lends flavor and texture to this festive loaf, studded with some of my favorite dried fruits and nuts. Even better the day after it’s baked, it makes heavenly morning toast and the perfect accompaniment to cheese. The ingredients should be easy to find with the exception of kumquats, which I like to candy in sugar syrup. If kumquats prove difficult to come by, you can candy grapefruit, orange, or lemon peels instead. Hold on to the candying syrup, though—at Friends & Family, we use it to brush finished baked goods for its citrusy flavor and an eye-catching sheen.