A soft and fluffy bread, that is perfect for breakfast, tea-time, and anytime throughout the day. It is not only soft, but so fluffy soft, and really, really good!
The original recipe is called Figgy Cardamom Bread, which uses dried figs and ground cardamom. I have however replaced the dried figs with dried cranberries and have omitted the cardamom.
I've used instant yeast, so I have skipped the ten minutes step to make it foamy, but mixed it with the other ingredients and proceed with the instructions in the recipe.
The recipe makes a really huge braid! It would be a great idea to divide the dough into two halves and make two sets of braided loaves instead.
This loaf is not only soft, but so deliciously fluffy soft.
Good to eat on its own or with a generous spread of salted butter. With a cup of your favourite tea or coffee.
Figgy Cardamom Bread (I've made as Cranberry Bread)
(adapted from "Williams-Sonoma : Home Baked Comfort", Kim Laidlaw)
makes 1 large loaf
1 cup (8fl oz/250ml) whole milk, warmed (110F/43C)
1 package (2-1/4 tsp) active dry yeast (I use 2 tsp instant yeast)
1/3 cup (3oz/90gm) sugar, plus more for sprinkling
3-1/2 cups (17-1/2oz/545gm) all-purpose flour (I use 3-1/2 cups + 3 tbsp bread flour)
1 tsp kosher salt (1/4 tsp salt, as butter is salted)
1 tsp ground cardamom (omit)
3 large eggs
6 tbsp (3oz/90gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks (salted butter)
1-1/2 cups (9oz/280gm) quartered dried figs (replaced with dried cranberries)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the milk, yeast, and 1/3 cup sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. (Since I've used instant yeast, I skipped the 10 minutes, and proceed with the next step).
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cardamom. Add the dry ingredients and 2 of the eggs to the yeast mixture. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough on medium-low speed until it starts to look shaggy. While continuing to knead, add the butter. Knead until the dough is fairly smooth, about 10 minutes. Dump the dough onto a floured work surface and flatten into a disk. Scatter the figs (cranberries) over the dough and gather it into a ball. Knead the dough gently to incorporate the figs (cranberries). Gather the dough into a ball, transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled, about 1 hour.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dump the dough onto the lightly floured work surface and divide it into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 16 inches (40cm) long. Lay the ropes next to each other, touching, on the work surface. Braid the ropes together, tucking the ends underneath the braid. Place on the prepared pan, cover loosely with a kitchen towel, and let rise until puffy, about 45 minutes.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F (180C). In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with a little water. Brush the dough gently with the egg wash, then sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.