Suddenly, i have a few posts in a week. That’s quite something in my book. Well, it’s because my car is still in workshop after 1 plus week! :(
You see, i was in Kuala Lumpur for 2 weeks last month and the car, parked less than 50m away from the security guard post was nearly stolen. Thank GOD it didn’t, otherwise i will not be able to get a single cent back since the insurance does not cover for any accidents/theft in Malaysia. The ignition, the alarm, basically everything that needed to be opened up, was opened and ripped apart. So what stopped the thieves from driving the car away?
The steering wheel was locked. Miraculously. Because for once, i carelessly didn’t lock it. So, I have no idea what happened, but it was locked. When i think back, i’m not sure if i was lucky or unlucky. Lucky because the damn thieves didn’t manage to steal the car, or unlucky because my car nearly got stolen. But. I would like to think it’s the former. Well, mainly to make myself feel better! :P
You know, they even stole my precious sunshade (which i cannot find anywhere anymore! *sad face*), my soft toys (1 cow + 2 sheep!!!) together with other valuable items. Madness!!
I’ve been trying to cut down my sugar intake tremendously since last month. I was given strict instruction by the doctor to stay clear of all sweet things, including some fruits too. It’s rather depressing. You know how much i heart desserts and my tea breaks. :(
Since i couldn’t bake any desserts for the time being, well, i could if i want to but i refuse to torture myself this way, heh, so i’ve been channeling my energy to bread making. Not too shabby isn’t it? After all, the boys love my homemade breads like crazy.. and though i don’t eat much of them these days, i love breads too!
When i came across this recipe on this fab cookbook ~ Home Baked Comfort by Kim Laidlaw, i knew i had to attempt it. It doesn’t sound too difficult except for the braiding part. I can’t even braid my own hair to begin with, what more breads? — i know right, what kinda female am i!?! Cannot braid my own hair?! Grin. But *ahem*… whaddaya know , looks like braiding bread is easier than braiding hair eh? ^^
Figgy Cardamom Bread
- 1 cup milk, warmed (110°F)
- 1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
- 1/3 (90g) cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 3 1/2 cups (545g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. ground cardamom
- 2 eggs
- 6 Tbs. (90g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks
- 1 1/2 cups(260g) quartered dried figs
In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the milk, yeast and the 1/3 cup sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cardamom. Add the flour mixture 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 over the dough and gather it into a ball. Knead the dough gently to incorporate the figs. 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 in volume, 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 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.
Preheat an oven to 350°F.
Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing. Makes 1 large loaf + 2 medium size boule.
(optional : brush the loaf with 1 egg, sprinkle some sugar and sliced almonds just before baking to make it more decadent!)
Confession : I actually used 3 eggs for this bread. Not intentional of course — a case of not reading the instructions properly. No wonder the dough was so sticky! Heheeeee!
I quite adore this recipe. The bread is almost brioche-like except that it’s not that rich. Still, when lightly toasted, it’s so good! Fluffy, buttery and so tear-able. I had it plain but the boys loved it with cream cheese / butter/ jam. As for the cardamom, i couldn’t taste it at all. Perhaps i added too little of it. Instead of using 1 tsp of ground cardamom, i grounded just 5 cardamom which came up to just 1/4 tsp?
This braided loaf makes a stunning presentation and it’s based on the traditional cardamom-spiked breads from Sweden and Finland, with luscious dried figs for some sparkle. If you have guests over, i’m sure they’ll be thrilled. I know i will. ;)