Speedy and I both bake bread but he has a different basic recipe from mine. He adds egg; I don’t. He has his standards for determining when the right time is to stop kneading; I go by the clock. He folds the dough differently than I do. When it comes to proofing, he goes by the clock while I go by how much the dough has risen. He bakes at 400F; I bake bread at 375F. And, most significantly, he has his own standards for judging the quality of the bread itself when it goes into the mouth.
So it happened that, one time, Speedy baked bread to which he added a handful of dried blueberries and some walnuts. I loved the bread so much, but… was he happy? He was not. According to him, the bread would have been nicer if he had used fresh blueberries which would have bled into the dough and created a little marbling. The natural juices of the blueberries would have made the bread more moist too.
And I thought I’d try his idea using fresh strawberries and my own basic bread recipe.
Because the strawberries were a bit tart, I sprinkled them with about two tablespoons of sugar when I spread them on the rolled dough. The bread came out good and the tartness of the strawberries gave the subtly sweet bread an interesting contrast.
But I wasn’t too happy with the way that the strawberries bled into the dough. Inside the oven, the chunks of strawberries softened and became smaller. Of course, they would! And that created holes in the bread. Instead of chunks of strawberry peeping through when the bread was sliced, there were gaping holes.
And, as I write this post, I sit here wondering… what fruit would have the right texture and moisture content? Speedy says strawberry is the wrong choice. Too watery? I’m now wondering if fresh blueberries will work. Or, perhaps, apples would be a better idea.
But why add fruits to bread in the first place? Well…
Imagine getting a craving and you need a sugar fix. A slice of sweet bread with fruits has only a fraction of the amount of sugar and oil (or butter) in a slice of cake.
Making bread entails using one mixing bowl only and the mixer does almost all the work. Whereas, making a cake or cupcakes means several different procedures which translate to several mixing bowls, whisks, scrapers etcetera etcetera. Just thinking about the amount of washing that comes after baking a cake or cupcakes makes my head spin.
Plus, a slice of bread can be eaten with the hand with virtually no mess.
And that makes bread with fruit a win-win choice.
Until the next experiment… With fresh blueberries and apples.