Saturday, May 16, 2009

Nothing like a nice date

I decided to try a fruit loaf this morning. I used much the same recipe as in this post but with the addition of a couple of tablespoons of honey to the mix. After the dough had been kneaded for five minutes or so I added a good handful of whole dried dates, and another of crushed walnuts, folding them in a bit at a time and kneading for another couple of minutes.

I popped the dough into a round cake tin, then glazed the top with honey water (using the sticky fingers or baker's fondle technique) and sprinkled on a generous amount of poppy seeds.

Because it was quite a large loaf with moist dough (to allow the dates to suck some of that moisture up) I baked it at about 400°F for half an hour and then reduced the heat to about 350°F for another twenty minutes. This worked really well: the loaf cooked through nicely while the top crust was crispy but not too think or overdone.

The verdict: boffo - a good one ! Even the youngest member of the family, renowned for brutally honest food criticism, gave it the thumbs up.

1 comment:

  1. Hi - Thanks for your comments on my Sourdough! The process of making the starter was fascinating and it worked right from the start, which was a great surprise after reading the problems that even experienced bakers have had. Beginners luck? The idea of using rainwater is interesting but I live in the city and don't think that I'd fancy the chemical additives which may fall from the skies!

    I made the slashes just before the loaves went into the oven, but it was a bit odd as the dough was so soft that it was collapsing as I was doing it (my first loaf was much firmer and it had been in the fridge overnight immediately prior to baking). Apparently a rye starter is more reliable than white flour as there are more enzymes and good stuff (that's a technical term) in it. Andrew Whiteley of the Village Bakery suggests using rye.

    And yes, toasted was delicious.

    I'll be planning my next session soon - we've some Italians for supper next weekend, so perhaps a sourdough Ciabatta?