It's on again; Zorra announced the annual celebration of Bread Bakers: World Bread Baking Day 2009.
I really needed such a kicker to start baking bread again, my kitchen hasn't seen much flour explosions lately and when this bread came out of the oven it showed.... high hopes, slack and tacky dough, cumbersome but nice braiding, miserable slashing!
So out came the powdered sugar... Disguise disguise thy name is powdered sugar! Hmmm now that I write this I suddenly remember that I planned an Irish Coffee Cream Icing to go with the bread. Guess my brain has been sugar powdered as well.
What I baked? A true fall flavoured bread packed with: orange juice and zest in the dough, chopped medjool dates, nice plump dried figs and small green apple chunks for a filling, adding enough sugar and butter to make the endresult more cakey than bready. Tango fresh and sweet!
Orangey-Date and Fig bread
2.1/2 ts instant yeast
1 cup milk
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 ts salt
60 gr butter, melted
grated zest of 2 oranges
5-6 cups bread flour
1.1/2 cup chopped dates, dried figs, steeped in the orange juice or 2 tbs orange liquor
1 green apple in chunks
Make a sludge from all the upper ingredients plus 2 cups of the flour, using the paddle on your standmixer to beat until smooth.
Adding flour by 1/4 cups at the time to get a smooth and soft dough that just about clears the bowl. Switching from the paddle to the dough hook when the dough gets more substance. Leave to double in a greased covered container for about 1.1/2 - 2 hours.
Tip dough out on your counter and pat into a rectangle, sprinkle the combined fruits over the dough, fold it over itself and carefully knead dough to distribute the fruit. (This is where I went wrong, I used all of the liquid in the bowl as well, tipping the scale from a soft smooth dough to a sloppy tacky one...yikes! So ... caution here!).
Now that the fruit is evenly distributed in the dough you can proceed to either divide the dough in two portions making two smaller loafs or leave it whole to make one giant braided wreath. A simpler variation would be to make two ropes and twist them together.
(I braided which was rather difficult with the tackiness).
Place in a pan large enough to hold your choice of amount comfortably and cover. Leave to rise at room temp for about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375F/175C and bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
This amount of dough makes one huge wreath which we will enjoy for breakfast but I must say I'm very much looking forward to toast it (mmmm with some butter and/or jam!) or even make breadpudding....