Of all the things I miss most of Melbourne is the morning stroll we did to get coffee. We lived on the hills of beautiful Emerald and there was this nature trail that connected Belgrave and Gembrook, which followed the famous Puffing Billy Railway line. It was our Saturday ritual to take this trail to a hidden cafe to get the morning coffee. This was our fasted-cardio for the weekend and it was about good 10 – 12 km (round trip) distance, and by the time we reach the cafe, we are usually starving and I look forward to my piece of raisin toast like my life depended on it!
It was just a slice of plain mass produced sandwich loaf, but boy! it tasted amazing! I missed this so much, that I had to recreate the recipe at home. But, as you know, I’m a hard-core sourdough lover/devotee, so here is the sourdough version of a fruited pan loaf.
I wouldn’t call this a sandwich loaf, as it is not as enriched. This loaf has still got a nice byte to it and got a chewy texture. It is not a fluffy, cake-like bread at all.
The only thing is I have added a little milk, oil and honey to make it a little bit flexible, so I can proof this in a pan. This additions resulted with a softer crumb (than a usual sourdough with just flour, water, salt) and crust. This makes it is easier to slice and hence perfect for toasts.
So here are the steps:
Make the starter the previous night (or several hours before you start making the recipe)
Mix everything in a bowl, except the fruit. Transfer to a stand mixer and just mix until everything is hydrated.
Remember to add water gradually as you go, to create a soft dough
This is the dough that’s just been mixed. It is a little bit sticky, but not too much. Now let it rest for a bout 30 minutes.
And then mix on medium-low speed until a smoother dough is developed ( for a bout 3 minutes) You can use your hands if you like.
See how smooth dough is. It is not completely developed yet. Now place the dough in a plastic bowl, cover and let ferment for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, do a stretch and fold and let rest for about 30 minutes.
This is a good time to prepare the fruits.
You can skip figs or replace it with more Sultana or raisins. If the figs are soft, just slice them thinly and set aside. If they are very dry, soak them in boiling water for a few minutes and drain before cutting.
It is a good idea to soak the cranberries and Sultanas/raisins in boiling water for a couple of minutes. This will soften them and hydrate them. This will ensure that they won’t absorb moisture from the dough and also will blend in nicely without tearing the gluten stricture.
After the stretch and fold and the resting time, the dough is now fully developed. Look how stretchy it is. Now is a good time to add the fruit.
Stretch the dough as much as you can like shown in the picture. Scatter the fruit evenly. And then, roll the dough from one end to the other. Shape in to a ball and place back in the container.
Cover and let ferment/bulk for about 3 hours
Bulked dough will be softer and bigger (not doubled, but noticeably grown). You will feel lots of air bubbles inside it.
Drop the dough on to a floured surface and pre-shape into a ball. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
Shape the dough like shown in the picture. If you don’t know how to shape, a pan loaf, checkout a video on you tube.
Place the shaped dough in a lightly greased loaf pan. Cover this/place in a plastic bag and refrigerate over-night or several hours (minimum 12)
this pan dimensions are
9″ x 5″ x 2 ¾”
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It will be proofed during the long retardation. ( 18 hours) But if you wan to bake earlier than this, take the loaf out and let it sit out-side (at room temp.) until it’s risen well above the brim of the pan.
Fully proofed loaf will be doubled in size. Do a poke test to see it is ready. When you press lightly with a finger, if it bounces back slowly, then it is ready.
Pre-heat the oven to 420 F
Lightly egg wash the top and bake; 15 minutes at 420 F and then a further 20 at 375 F.
Once done cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes and demold the loaf and leave to cool completely
Slice with a serrated knife and enjoy!
Best served toasted