A simple fruity loaf, which is made into two small mini loaves. This bread uses the sponge dough method, and it gives a soft crumb texture. Any dried fruits can be used, here I have used dried cranberries, dried apricots and raisins. The dried fruits are first soaked in water or rum till soft and plump, then drain and dab with kitchen towel to dry them well.
Ingredients for the sponge dough is mixed and left to ferment for 2 hours. Then the ingredients for the main dough is mixed with the sponge dough which is cut into small pieces. Butter is added and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Flatten the dough on a work surface, scatter the dried fruits and gently knead them in till evenly distributed into the dough. Roll into a ball, place in greased bowl, covered with greased cling wrap and left in a warm place to rise till doubled in size. Punch dough down and divide into two equal portions. Cover with cling wrap to let dough relax for 10 minutes. Roll each round to a rectangle, roughly to the length of the loaf pan, roll them up Swiss-roll style and place in the loaf pans, with the seams facing down. Cover with greased cling wrap and leave to rise till doubled in size. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. The top tends to get brown rather quick as this bread has honey, so tent the top with foil if the top is browning too fast.
This fruity loaf is lovely when eaten on the day it is baked. It has a soft and moist crumbs. On the next day, the crumb is not as soft but is still quite nice to eat with a cup of coffee or tea. I was sort of expecting a sweeter taste to this bread, but to my surprise, there's not a hint of sweetness at all. The next time, I would add some sugar, maybe about 1-2 tablespoons and a pinch of salt to the dough, as I feel that it needs it.
(adapted from : "Bread of Water-roux, Sponge-dough and Old-dough Methods", by Debbie)
Sponge Dough :
200gm bread flour
4gm fast-action dried yeast
Main Dough :
100gm bread flour
30gm dried cranberries
70gm dried figs (I replaced with black raisins)
45gm dried apricots
- For the filling : Cut the dried fruits into large dices. Soak the diced fruits in warm water or rum until soft. Strain before use, dab dry with kitchen towel.
- To mix the sponge dough : Mix all sponge dough ingredients and knead until the dough is shiny and smooth. Put into a mixing bowl and cover with cling wrap. Set aside at room temperature for 2 hours for fermentation. Put the dough on a counter top and cut into small pieces.
- Put pieces of sponge dough and main dough ingredients (except butter) into a mixing bowl and mix with a spoon.
- Turn mixture onto a counter top and knead with hands until combined.
- Add butter and knead until thin membrane formed.
- Press the dough flat with your hands. Spread with the filling and knead until the fillings are evenly distributed.
- Roll the dough into a round. Place into a greased bowl and cover with cling wrap. Set aside for about 45 minutes until doubled in size.
- Test the dough with a finger ; punch a hole at the center of the dough and if it just shrinks slightly, the fermentation has finished.
- Turn the dough out to a counter top and press flat with hands to remove air. Divide into 2 equal portions,
- Roll each portion into a round. Cover with cling wrap and set aside for 10 minutes to let it relax.
- Have ready two greased loaf pans ; size 16x9x6-cm. Roll the dough with a rolling pin into rectangular shape, roughly the length of the pan. Roll the dough Swiss-roll style.
- Place the dough, seam-side down into the greased pans, cover with greased cling wrap and set aside for 45 minutes until doubled in size.
- Bake in a 190C preheated oven for about 30 minutes until golden brown. Since there is honey in the dough, its surface tends to turn brown rather quickly. Cover the top with foil when the top is browning too fast.
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