Friday, 16 September 2011

Project Sourdough: Spiced fruit loaf

Flicking through my Bourke St Bakery cookbook, there are several recipes which use their 'fruit soak'. As it seemed to be the base for quite a few different loaves I decided that I should give it a go. I didn't have all the right fruit and spices for their spiced fruit loaf so decided to put my own twist on things.

I was quite surprised by the final result. It doesn't taste dissimilar to the fruit loaf I'm used to having at my grandparents house for afternoon tea. It is surprisingly sweet (no sugar added) and moist from all of the fruit. Bready, almost cakey, toasted with some jam I think this would go down a treat.

Baking Notes
I soaked a 100g mix of sultanas, raisins and cranberries in water for eight hours before I made my loaf. Draining the fruit of excess water before using.

The base for the loaf was 500g of regular white sourdough. When I had kneaded the sourdough for the final time I laid the dough on a bench, poured the fruit on top and then sprinkled over 1/4 tsp cinnamon and a few grates of nutmeg. What a mess! The dough became quite wet and sticky and I really wondered how I was going to mix everything in.

I did my best, it looked dreadful and I just gave up to start the two prove and knock back cycles. Luckily during this time the dough came together during the proves and fold and was workable (but still wet), but the time I came to shape the loaf.

I used some of the tips in this video to shape a round loaf. It is the first decent round loaf I have made that didn't rise awkwardly and look ugly when it had baked.

Things to try next time:
Overall pretty happy with the loaf, so not too many things to try next time. It seemed quite versatile so I think the main thing will be to have a play around with different fruits and spices to hand.
- Shaping a boule again using the same technique.
- Trying this recipe in a mixer as adding the fruit and spices by hand just created a huge mess.
- Must remember to slash the loaf before baking.
- The crust was a bit soft for my liking, so trying to improve that.

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