Friday, December 04, 2020

PISTACHIO STRAWBERRY SWEET BREAKFAST LOAF

December, the festive month, the prelude to lovely holidays. When everything looks merry and the air is crisp and almost sparkling.
What better way to start the chilly day then with a lovely homemade loaf, full of pistachios, vanilla, and strawberries. Flavourful, vibrant, and deliciously soft.
While it may look complicated or demanding, the dough is incredibly supple and perfect to work with, and comes together in a breeze. Start to finish, it only takes a few hours, making it perfect for breakfast or brunch.
It is best served still warm, topped with icy jam, and a mug of piping hot tea, preferably fruit tea, or even lightly toasted and slathered with vegan butter.
Food colouring is optional, though it adds additional brightness to the baked loaf. If omitted, it will be more pastel after baking.


Ingredients
For the vanilla dough
150 grams plain flour
90 millilitres warm water
10 millilitres oil
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For the strawberry dough
90 grams plain flour
50 millilitres warm water
10 millilitres oil
¾ teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
3 teaspoons freeze-dried strawberries, finely ground
½ teaspoon salt
1 drop vegan strawberry red food colouring, optional
For the pistachio dough
50 grams plain flour
10 grams pistachio flour
30 millilitres warm water
10 millilitres oil
½ teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 drop vegan pistachio green food colouring, optional
For the glaze
30 millilitres oil
50 millilitres cold water

Preparation
To make the vanilla portion of the dough, sift the flour into a medium bowl, make a little well in the centre, and add in the rest of the ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon until a somewhat sticky dough comes together. The hydration of this dough is relatively moderate, so it should not stick to your hands. Knead the dough in the bowl for a minute or two, cover the top with cling film, and set it aside.
To make the strawberry portion of the dough, start by sifting the flour into a medium bowl. Sift in the ground freeze-dried strawberries and whisk really well to distribute them. Make a well in the very centre, add in the rest of the ingredients, and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Again, it should not stick to your hands as you knead it, but if you need to, sprinkle in a teaspoon or two of flour, and knead for a minute. Cover the top with cling film, and reserve.
To make the pistachio dough, sift the plain flour and the pistachio flour into a medium bowl, make a well in the centre, and add in the rest of the ingredients. Mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together, and knead it for a minute or two, to make it smooth and supple. Depending on how finely ground your pistachio flour is, you might need to add another teaspoon or so, as you knead, if the dough sticks. Cover the top, and let it rest and rise.
After about an hour in a warm spot, all three portions of the dough will be puffy and ready. Gently knead all three parts, and let them rest for 10 more minutes. Line a small loaf pan (9x18 centimetres) with baking parchment, and set it aside. When the dough is ready, roll out the white part to about a centimetre in thickness, but make sure one side is rolled out to the length of the pan. Roll the remaining two parts of the dough in the same fashion, always making sure one side is matching the pan length.
Dip a pastry brush into cold water and lightly brush the surface of the white part, and gently cover it with the strawberry part of the dough. Gently press down with your palms to make sure the dough is sticking together and that there are no air pockets. Again, brush the top of it with cold water, and top with the pistachio dough. Press lightly, and roll the dough into a somewhat tight roll, starting from the shorter side, so it snugly fits the pan. Transfer the roll into the pan, brush it with the glaze, and let it rise in a warm spot, for about 45 minutes, to an hour.
Brush the top of the loaf with the remaining glaze, and bake in a preheated oven, at 200°C, for 25-30 minutes. Once baked and golden, let it cool down slightly on a wire rack, and serve. Yields one loaf.

Author's note: If you notice the loaf is browning too quickly, make a little cover using an aluminium foil, and continue baking as directed.

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