Hazelnut & Apricot Rustic Boule

This loaf won’t win any prizes for being pretty, but “taste and see” before you judge it. The taste is lovely and the texture even more so: crunchy hazelnuts and firm moist apricots are great together. The combination of wholemeal and white flour gives it a great depth of flavour, while the honey adds a nice touch of sweetness.

Makes: 10 – 12 slices

Time: 30 mins prep. 2 – 3 hours for proving. Up to 30 minutes in the oven.

Level: Easy

Equipment: A stand mixer with a dough hook makes life easier, but it’s not essential.


*This is for one small/medium loaf, simply double the quantity of all the ingredients, except the yeast, if you want a large loaf or two medium.

  • 50g/1.75oz  hazelnuts halved**
  • 150g/5.5oz strong wholemeal flour
  • 100g/3.5oz strong white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 150ml/5.5fl oz lukewarm milk
  • 20ml/0.75fl oz runny honey
  • 20ml/0.75fl oz olive oil
  • 7g sachet of instant dried yeast
  • 50g/1.75oz dried apricots, quartered (Tip – use scissors)
  • A beaten egg, for glazing (Use just the yolk for an even richer colour, but it does make it go quite dark – see above.)

** To intensify their flavour, toast the nuts – either in the oven (10 mins at 180C/350F/Gas 4) or in a dry frying pan for a few minutes – watch them carefully and keep them moving.


1. Mix together the flours and salt in a large bowl.

2. Stir the honey and olive oil into the lukewarm milk then add the yeast. Stir well.

3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture. Mix together well.

4. Knead the dough until it’s firm, springy and stretchy – either by hand (12 – 15 minutes) on a lightly floured surface or with a dough hook in a stand mixer (7 – 10 minutes).

5. Flatten out the dough roughly and add half the nuts and fruit. Fold these in then repeat. Gently work the additions into the dough until evenly incorporated.

6. Place the dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film or a tea towel or a shower cap (my preferred method). Leave in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in volume, probably about 60 – 90 minutes.

7. Once risen, punch down to release the air, then tip out onto a lightly floured surface. Form into a ball, dragging the upper parts underneath to create surface tension. Place the boule on a lightly oiled or lined and floured baking tray and flatten a little.

8. Place the tray and boule inside a plastic bag1. Wrap the loose ends underneath to create an air filled “balloon” over the boule. (1I use a white kitchen bin liner.) Leave to rise again for about an hour, possibly longer depending on temperature.

9. Towards the end of the rising time (Maybe 45 minutes) turn the oven on to 210C/Fan 190C/400F/Gas 6. 

10. Once risen, brush the top with beaten egg or yolk and cut a couple of slashes with a sharp knife or razor blade.

11. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes or until a nice golden brown. The boule should sound hollow when tapped underneath. Leave on a wire rack to cool.