Friday, June 17, 2022


Making bread is something that makes me truly happy. I love every bit of the process, the weighing, mixing, kneading, shaping; I love it. It was always like that, ever since I taught myself how to bake. Other interests have come and gone, but this is love.
This little loaf combines everything I love about summer baking. Fragrant strawberries, warm vanilla and brown sugar, and wonderful white tea, all combined into one gorgeous breakfast loaf. It is wonderful on its own, and it is also great for picnics.
It will stay fresh the next day, as well, but it isn't suitable for toasting, due to the sticky strawberry filling. It is, however, suitable to be slathered in some vegan butter, and broiled until golden. Or made into the most wonderful vegan French toast.

For the white tea sweet dough
210 millilitres water
1 teaspoon loose-leaf white tea
30 millilitres vegetable oil
30 grams granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 ½ teaspoon salt
20 grams fresh yeast
350 grams plain flour
For the strawberry filling
300 grams fresh strawberries
100 grams granulated sugar
½ vanilla bean

Start by brewing the white tea. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat, remove it from the stove, and add in the loose-leaf tea. Cover, and let it steep for about 3-5 minutes. Strain it well, and let it cool down slightly. Once ready, pour it into a large bowl, crumble in the fresh yeast, and add in the sugar and the oil. Mix well so the yeast dissolves, and then let it stand until bubbly and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
When the yeast is ready, add in the vanilla, and mix well. Sift in half of the flour and the salt, and mix well with a wooden spoon. Sift in the rest of the flour, and proceed to knead with your hands, for about 5 minutes more, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rest and rise for about an hour.
While the dough is resting, make the strawberry filling. Wash the strawberries, chop them up nicely, and add them to a heavy-bottomed pot. Add in the sugar, and let it come to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once it starts to simmer and the fruit starts to release more liquid, split the vanilla bean in half, scrape all the seeds, and add them to the strawberries, along with the vanilla bean. Cook, stirring often, until it thickens up to the consistency of jam, about 15 minutes. Even if it is slightly thicker than regular jam, it will be fine. Remove the vanilla bean and discard it.
Once the dough is ready, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into three equal parts. Roll each part into a large rectangle, and spread on a third of the strawberry filling, which should be cool by now. Roll each dough piece into a roll, and seal the edges well. Make a three-strand plait out of the dough pieces, and tuck the ends underneath, if necessary, and then place it into a loaf pan that has been lined with baking parchment. Cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rise for a second time, for about 30 minutes.
As soon as the oven is ready, bake the bread immediately, at 200°C, for about 20-25 minutes. Once baked to your liking, take it out of the oven, and generously mist it with cold water, and let it cool down enough to be handled. Slice and serve with more fresh strawberries and tea. Yields 8 large servings.

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