Monday, 18 May 2015

Fig Bread

This is one tasty loaf!

We picked up a version of this bread a few weeks ago, from a little coffee shop-come-deli that's just down the street from our flat.  We served it with a hunk if goats cheese - it was one of the best impro' lunches we have had for a while - I think the sunny weather and the local beer helped but the fig in the bread made for a very sweet tasting loaf and went perfectly with the tartness of the goats cheese.

The next day the bread toasted really well - to have just buttered for breakfast.

When I returned home to Cornwall I was craving a taste of that bread again. My local bakers didn't have it - or any version of fruit bread - so I have been forced to have a go at making it myself.

Now, I don't make much bread. To be perfectly honest we only seem to eat bread or toast at the weekends, so making it just to have a few slices always seems a waste - and my freezer is full of half loaves that I didn't have the heart to throw away - when we had chickens I used to feed the left overs to them, recycling into eggs seemed very frugal.

So what I'm trying to say is, that this bread was sooooo tasty I had to break my 'not baking our own bread rule' to have that flavour once's my recipe it seemed to turn out quite well!

Recipe - makes 1 medium loaf

650g Strong white bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
7g sachet dried yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
16floz warm water
350g ready to eat dried figs

pre-heat oven 200C/gas 6

1 heavy based baking sheet

Grab a large bowl, or your mixer bowl, and add the flour, yeast, salt, pepper and olive oil.

Pour in the water and start mixing together to form a soft dough - you may need to adjust the amount of water you add so don't pour it all in at once.

Once you have a soft dough either turn it out on your work surface or set your mixers dough hook on a low setting, and knead for about 10 minutes.

You want to knead your dough until it develops a soft slightly clammy feel to it and it should feel smooth and elastic...

Once your happy that your dough has reached this texture form into a smooth ball, flour and place into a large bowl to prove.

Cover with a cloth and place the bowl somewhere warm - I placed mine next to the radiator.

It will take about an hour to double in size.

Whilst your dough is rising you can prepare the figs. Roughly chop each fig to form largest bite size pieces. I found cutting each into thirds seemed about right.

Once your dough has risen, turn out onto a floured board and pull into a largest rectangle - you should be able to pull and knead it into this shape. Lay the figs all over the upper surface.

Turn one side in a third of the way and then fold the opposite side over the top.

So you created a fig sandwich that looks a little like a french loaf. Now grab the two short ends and give a quick twist which will bring some of the figs to the surface and add an interesting shape to your loaf.

Lay on a floured baking sheet, cover in your cloth and leave for a second rising of about 20 minutes.

Remove the cloth and just before baking slash two diagonal cuts through the loaf.

Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until it sounds hollow when you tap it on the base. Place on a rack to cool before eating.

What out for the figs when you handle this loaf whilst it's hot - the juices from the figs are very hot and sticky - they will burn you quite badly ...... I speak from experience!

As I mentioned earlier this bread is perfect to go with cheese and is excellent as hot buttered toast.

Have a great start to your week
Love Lizx

 Fig Bread