Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Nick Malgieri's Fig and Almond Bread
Artisan Bread Bakers. Phyl, the organizer of this group, has chosen Nick Malgieri's Fig and Almond bread as the Bread of the Month for September. I didn't see Phyl's orginal announcement of this bread for September, but saw it a little into September and started flipping through Nick's book, The Modern Baker thinking that must be where the recipe had come from. Alas, it wasn't in any of his current books, and so I had another thought and popped on over to Nick Malgieri's blog and lo and behold, he has given his fans a sneak peak into a new, upcoming book of his.
I was so thrilled that he chose to divulge one of the bread recipes to any who might want to try it. I couldn't pass this Fig and Almond Bread recipe by and quickly picked up a 6 oz. bag of Sun Maid Calimyrna Figs at the store. (If I already have part of the ingredients sitting out on my counter, then I'm more likely to complete the projects that I want to get done that month).
I thought the recipe was easy to follow, although it would have been nice to have a few 'why' explanations for some of the steps, especially for novice bread bakers and inquiring minds.
I followed the recipe pretty much as written. I did use instant yeast instead of active dry and in that case, you can just add the instant yeast to the dry ingredients listed in step #3 and can just skip step #2. The Sun Maid dried figs sealed in a bag are usually pretty moist so I didn't need to steep my figs in step #1.
The ingredients are straightforward and were all in my pantry. I used 15 grams of brown sugar instead of granulated sugar, since the sticky, sugary sweet figs just seemed to call out brown sugar to me instead of white. I love, love, love figs and it was hard not to eat them as I cut them into a 1/2 inch dice. As I was handling them, I felt as if I'd just reached into Pooh's honey stash and pulled out some treasure he'd stashed along with it. I think Pooh would like figs don't you?
I used a single edged razor to score one of the boule's with an 'X' and I gave the other one an overlapping box cut. The bread baked up wonderfully, but with not a whole lot of oven spring. I brushed the loaves liberally with the melted butter after they came out of the oven and we ate half of one of the loaves with dinner.
I asked my husband, who is usually very generous, and not as stingy as myself, who we might share the other loaf with, and he replied that we should keep both for ourselves. This bread was that good!
Thank you Nick, for a wonderful recipe to add to our list of family favorites!!
Great pick Phyl!