Sunday, 15 December 2013

Christmas bread with figs and nuts

As more and more blogs get on the gluten-free, carbless vegan superfoodbandwagon, I find myself even more stubbornly sticking to old-fashioned joys of meat, pasta and baking. What would life be without bread? And Christmas for that matter? Scandinavian Christmas feasts just aren't complete without a spicy, sweet, dark Christmas bread.

The starting point for this bread was the dark archipelago bread. It gets its Christmasy notes from orange zest, clove, figs left over from pan de higo and nuts of course. Christmas and nuts just go together - just watch The Nutcracker! I used walnuts which I also used for apple bread, but you can use any nuts you want.

Since I still had rye malt, the dark toasty sweetness of which I like, I started with them. This time I soaked them overnight in some buttermilk.

Clove gives the bread Christmasy sweetness, but in case you're not a big fan, the combination of fennel seeds and caraway seeds (or aniseed) is a winner too. Figs could be substituted with raisins.

Makes 2

1,5 dl rye malt
5 dl buttermilk
50 gr fresh yeast
1 dl syrup
1 dl coarsely chopped (wal)nuts
1 dl roughly chopped dried figs
the zest of 1 orange
2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp ground cloves
1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
4 dl rye flour
5 dl all purpose flour
3 rkl oil

For glazing: 1 dl water + 1/2 dl syrup

Let the malt soak in 2 dl buttermilk overnight. Heat syrup and rest of the buttermilk to 37° and crumble the yeast into it. Add the mixture into the malt and toss in nuts, orange zest, figs and spices. Then add the flour and salt. Towards the end work oil into the dough. Let rise covered for a couple of hours.

Divide into two, form a round bread, smooth the top and let rise again, covered for another couple of hours. Bake at 175° for 45 minutes- 1 hour. Glaze with syrup and water mixture a couple of times during baking and immediately after it.




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