Monday, September 21, 2009

Melissa's "F" Bread

The "F" Bread

The “F” Bread

I recently watched a documentary titled, “How To Cook Your Life” featuring Zen Priest Edward Brown. He “…demonstrates that cooking is a feast of the senses.” I can totally buy that. In the documentary he goes on to say we as a society do not use our hands and hands were meant to be used. Our hands have become idle. They say idle hands are the devil’s tools. I’m not sure I buy that. I only get in trouble when I USE my hands. Anyway, I’m pretty sure that statement is not valid in MY home to begin with…we use our hands quite a bit…some more than others. However, I get his point, and one of the most perfect uses for hands, is the art of bread making, although hubby may beg to differ. I just love to roll in…I mean roll THE dough!

I love to bake and breads are at the top of my list, both sweet breads and savory. (Sweet breads as in cinnamon rolls and the like; not to be confused with internal organs. Gross.)

Next, the hard part…Decisions, Decisions! Would I make a pear and bleu cheese braid? …A Parisian Diplomat? …Monkey Bread? …A Croatian Walnut Roll? (mouth watering over that one!) …Dosa, Flatbread, Foccacia, Povitcia, Chiabatta, Challa, Stollen, Pannetone, Hot Cross Buns? …should it be a loaf, a baton, baguette, roll, boule, Swiss roll, crescents, knots? If we’re going by personality a twisted knot would fit beautifully, however, I decided to go with one of my all time favorite and most fun recipes… Fig Bubble Bread. Huh? Yep! It’s fancy, fun, fresh, figgy and FABULOUS…. all the good “F” words! Watch and see how much figgin’ fun you can have with this bread and I hope you try this at home!


1 package Fleischmann’s yeast
¼ cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
2 cups fruit preserves
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp. sugar
4 cups flour
½ cup butter
2 eggs

1/3 cup honey
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp. vanilla

First, dissolve the yeast in warm water about 5 minutes. Make sure the water is room temperature. If it’s too warm it will kill the yeast (similar in nature to Monistat) and you will have very, cardboardish, flat bread. You cannot revive your yeast. You will have to start over.

Next, add the milk, sugar, eggs, flour and half of your butter. Mix it until well blended and a soft dough forms. You can perform this step in a mixer with a dough hook, but I prefer to get my hands dirty! It reminds me of being a kid and playing with paper mache…ewwwww fun! Hopefully it will not turn out like paper mache or your figgy bread will be a figgin’ speed bump!

When done, turn your dough out onto a floured board or surface and knead about 6-8 minutes. To knead the bread, start by folding your dough in half. Push the dough away from you with the heels of your hands. Make a quarter turn with the dough and fold in half again, always folding towards you. Continue this method of folding and pushing by quarter turns and you are officially kneading your bread. You’ll know when the process is complete when the dough becomes smooth and shiny. To test, press two fingers in the dough. If the indent stays, it’s ready to rise.

Place the dough in a greased dish, turning to coat both sides. Cover and let rise in a warm, safe place about 1 to 1 ½ hours or until it’s doubled in size. Punch down the dough…this is a GREAT way to rid yourself of built up hostility… and turn it back out onto your surface.

Next, divide your dough into 24 pieces or dough balls. We can NEVER seem to get away from our balls can we? Flatten and fill each piece of your dough with 1 tsp. preserves, pinching each closed, forming your balls. (Men, I’d skip reading this next part… said covering eyes.) Put ½ your balls into a bundt pan and brush them with butter, then sprinkle with sugar. (Oh the visual!) Place the remaining dough balls into your pan and repeat butter brushing and sugar sprinkling.

Allow your balls to rise about 35-45 minutes, then bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Mix the ingredients for your glaze and pour over your bread. Let cool and serve. I hope you and yours enjoy this fine figgy creation! I think MY prisoners will approve.


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