Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Cherry and Almond Bread

I love a slice of lightly toasted sweet bread for breakfast, particularly when spread with peanut butter and home made jam. This one is a real treat, both to make, to eat and particularly to serve to any guests fortunate enough to enjoy your company, with tasty, toasty almonds, syrupy cherries and finished with a sticky glaze. It can also be mostly made the evening before, meaning you are free to rest easy in the knowledge that a delicious treat awaits you but an hour or so away the following morning.

Prep time: 20 Mins (Plus some proving time)
Baking time: 30-35 Mins
14g Fresh Yeast
2tbsp Caster Sugar
125ml Tepid Water
300g Very Strong White Bread Flour (Plus and extra 10g)
1/2tsp Salt
2 Egg Yolks
100g Glace Cherries (Roughly Chopped)
75g Flaked Almonds
75ml Warm Milk

For the glaze
2tbsp Unsalted Butter (Melted)
1tbsp Icing Sugar
1tsp Almond Extract
2tbsp Flaked Almonds

Roll up your dressing gown sleeves, as it's time to get your hands doughy. Crumble the fresh yeast into a large mixing bowl, along with the caster sugar. Add the tepid water and mix with a fork or mini whisk until the yeast has started to dissolve. Add the 300g of flour, salt, egg yolks, cherries and almonds, then pour over the warm milk and mix lightly with a flat bladed knife, until a loose dough starts to come together. Tip the loose dough out onto a surface that has been lightly dusted with flour and begin kneading. The dough will start off sticky but should come together as you knead. You can add some of the additional 10g of flour if it is just too sticky, as this will depend on how big your egg yolks are, the temperature/humidity of your kitchen, etc, but be brave and try not to add too much. After around 7-8 minutes of kneading the dough should become smooth and elastic, so at this point shape it into a ball and place in a large, greased mixing bowl. Cover with a sheet of clingfilm and leave in the fridge for around 8 hours, ideally overnight.

Once the dough has risen in the fridge, turn it out onto a lightly greased surface and press all over gently with your fingers to knock any excess air out. You can know shape your dough accordingly, my preference being a dainty plait! Carefully transfer you shaped dough to a lightly greased flat baking tray, place in a large bag and leave in a warm place for 45minutes, to prove again.

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Remove the dough from your warm place (said the baker to the bishop!), take it out of the bag and bake in the centre of the oven. At the same time make the glaze by mixing together the melted butter, icing sugar and almond extract. After 15 minutes of baking remove the bread, brush the glaze all over, scatter over the 2tbsp of flaked almonds and return to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes until dark golden all over. When you are happy the bread is baked, remove it from the oven and place on a chopping board ready for slicing. Congratulations, your work is complete.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a fab recipe... definitely want to try it out!