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Friday, January 8, 2010

First Bread

This is the perfect time to check out blogs. Most bloggers will do a roundup of their favorite posts in the previous year, so we will get to know the annual mainstream of their baking or cooking without actually going through the long archive.

Apparently most bloggers would have chosen the best of their baking from photos or their tasting memory. It is the fact that no bloggers can blog about their food without tasting them first right? They have done the filtering, rest assured. So when they present the best 10 of the year, I am pretty sure they are really the best 10 they have been happy with.

Meanwhile, I enjoy seeing those roundup photos, mostly because there are a whole series of nice photographs being lined up next to each other like a nice tapestry or a sweet table calendar I got from my Finance colleague every first month of the year. Very eye pleasing!

I didn't do a roundup of my posts but sort of running through what I kept in my mind (and in my computer of course!) and I noticed I didn't bake any bread at all the entire year. Would be nice to start a new year with a bit of change. I have been following some bread baking blogs and that should remind me of getting a copy of Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker Apprentice soon. This book seems like the holy grail of bread baking no one should miss.

As I was flipping through Dean Brettschneider's Global Baker, I had noticed there was bread I wanted to bake. And without any delay, I decided to start scaling the flour...

Makes 2 loaves with the length of 29cm

1. Filling

- Dried figs – remove stems and finely chop > 200 grams
- Dark rum > 50 ml
- Ground cinnamon > 2 teaspoons
- Softened butter > 50 grams

- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and stir well.
- Cover with cling film and chill overnight.

2. Egg Wash:

- Egg yolk > 1
- Water > 2 tablespoons

- Mix both together and whisk briefly.

3. Fruit Glaze

Ingredients :
- Fruit jam (apricot, mango, strawberry, etc.) > 4 tablespoons
- Water > 3 tablespoons

- Mix fruit jam and water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Stir constantly.
- Strain through a sieve. Set aside.

4. Dough

- All purpose flour > 380 grams
- Caster sugar > 30 grams
- Baking powder > 25 grams
- Salt > ¼ teaspoon
- Butter – cut into small pieces > 60 grams
- Milk > 190 ml
- Egg > 1

- Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
- Rub butter pieces into flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Separately, whisk milk and egg together and pour into the flour mixture.
- Use a wooden spoon to mix until it forms a soft dough.
- Place dough on a floured surface and knead for 20 seconds. Do not overknead as the dough will become too elastic.
- Cut the dough into 2 pieces to make 2 small loaves.
- Shape each piece into a square and roll with a rolling pin into a 25 cm square.
- Spread filling evenly on top of each dough sheet, leaving 1 cm free at the top edge. Brush this edge with egg wash.

- Roll the dough sheet up from bottom to top edge to form a log.
- Starting about 1 inch from top of the log, use a sharp knife and make a single length way cut down the middle of the loaf all the way through.
- Take the 2 strands - one in each hand, with the cut side of each strand facing up – twist around each other. Brush the two strand ends with egg wash and press firmly together. Place the loaf on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Repeat for the second loaf. Place on the baking tray well apart from the other loaf.
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Brush loaves with egg wash and rest for 10 minutes.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes. Turn the tray halfway through to ensure even color.
- Remove loaves from baking tray and brush with fruit gel.
- Cool on a wire rack.


  1. Bread! how delicious! I love how it twists and turns and weaves itself into a gorgeous mound of happiness. You must have the greatest breakfasts.

  2. This is very beautiful bread. Love the smell of cinnamon ;) Coffee Please!

  3. Wow, congrats! It is beautiful and so tempting!



  4. WOW!!! That is one gorgeous bread!!!!

    I did not do a round up this year but I get what you mean. It's a visual melody across blogs

  5. Your bread looks beautiful and sounds amazingly delicious! I'd love to tear off a piece and indulge right now..for breakfast! YUM! I LOVE bread!!!

  6. Just gorgeous - I wish I could eat some right now! Seriously, it looks perfect and oooh figs.......I don't think I could even try to make it gluten free!

  7. Kris,
    This looks so fabulous. I love baking bread so I'll be trying this soon. As for TWD you should give it a go. Lots of fun people, you would be a great fit.

  8. Ooo, hmm, I do think that this looks far too sumptious to be called a it's gorgeous and it actually also reminds me that I want to bake more bread in this new year, so maybe I should start here.. It does look a bit complicated though

  9. What a fabulous start to the new year Kris! Congrats on your first year =D. I look forward to many more to come!

  10. Is this the first bread of this year? Looks gorgeous and I hope this year will be as wonderful for you.

  11. What a gorgeous bread to start the year with!

  12. The bread looks great, Kris.
    p.s. I love the Bread Baker's book.

  13. When I saw the photo of your post I thought - gosh, he made a Polish poppy seed and honey rolls! I was SO surprised that those are figs! Had to be delicious! Have to make them someday.
    Cheers! :) Anula.

  14. Have you ever heard bread sing to you? This is singing out LOUD! What a beautiful creation! Gorgeous!!

  15. That looks delish! I wish you were just across the street so I can have a bite `*

  16. Vicky: I had a few great breakfasts, in fact. 2 big loaves, I could have it a week without friends' help!!

    Anncoo: Coffee right on, Ann!

    Rosa: Then you could have one extra slice :-)

    Asha: Congrats on your FSK Cafe's first event of the year! Lots of success!

    Sue: So you like bread besides those beautiful cookies you created! Now I figured that out :-)

    Jenn: Make it gluten-free? Now I call that a challenge!

    Mimi: Thanks, Mimi! I will look into TWD, see whether I could fit in my schedule!

    Simone: Not complicated at all, seems like we have the same baking resolution for this year :-)

    Lauren: Thanks, Lauren! Wish you good luck for your exams!

    Aparna: I hope this year will be wonderful for you too! Let's bake and be excited, shall we?

    Barbara: Thanks!

    Thip: Thanks, Thip! You love that book. No more waiting, I need to get it right away!

    Anula: That polish poppy seed and honey rolls sound delicious. I would like to have the recipe and bake it someday! And for this one, happy baking!

    Deeba: It sang to me from the first time I laid my eyes on it on the page! Now I know what you meant!

    Ann: Ha ha maybe we should be neighbors :-)

    Sawadee from Bangkok,

  17. This looks absolutely amazing, you are such a talented baker!

  18. Gosh, Sawadee, you sure know how to start the baking-year out right! What a stunning treat you made. Really very impressive and very beautiful! You are inspiring.

    :) Jane

  19. Heavenly Housewife: Thanks!

    Jane: Thanks, Jane! Your scones inspired me in the same way..

    Sawadee from Bangkok,

  20. that just looks amazing! thanks for sharing

  21. Figs AND Rum? Oh my goodness, the combo just makes me smile.

    This bread goes on my 'to do' list. I will really have to work on sharing it though; it looks like something I need to savor all to myself. ;)

    Your photos are amazing, Kris. Works of art, every one of them!