This loaf does everything a fruit loaf should do. Great for toast in the morning, terrific as a cheese and wine accompaniment and like the hazelnut and raisin loaf it is very yummy as the bread component of a bread and butter pudding. A barberry is a sour berry from Iran similar to a cranberry and packed full of sour-sweet flavours. Barberries are available from Middle Eastern food stores and specialist delicatessens.
To make the fig and barberry loaf, follow the instructions for mixing sourdough until you can create a window. Lightly mix in the combined barberries, fruit soak, figs and rye starter. You can do this by hand by lightly folding the ingredients through the dough or simply add it to the bowl of an electric mixer and mix for 2–3 minutes on slow speed — you will need to give it a helping hand by stopping the mixer a few times to push the dough around the bowl. Lightly grease a container with oil spray and sit the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at ambient room temperature (approximately 20°C/68°F) for 1 hour to bulk prove.
To knock back the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and press out into a rectangle, about
Use a blunt knife or divider to divide the dough into two even-sized portions, about
Line two small baskets with a tea towel (dish towel) in each, lightly dust both with flour and place a loaf inside each, seam side up. If you are using a cane basket, you don’t need the tea towel and can simply dust the basket with flour. Alternatively, you can place the loaves on a baking tray lined with baking paper, seam side down. Place in the refrigerator loosely covered with a plastic bag for 8–12 hours.
Spray the oven with water and reduce the temperature to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7).
The fig and barberry loaf is the most popular fruit loaf at Bourke Street Bakery, with figs from Turkey, barberries from Iran, flour from Gunnedah, salt from the Murray River, raisins from California, currants from Victoria and water from Warragamba. This loaf deserves its status — it is a perfectly natural mix of sweet and sour. The crumbling figs melt in your mouth and taste so good that it is tempting to pull them off the loaf and eat them even before the bread knife comes out.
© 2009 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.