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A really good fruit bread….

June 6, 2013

Fig & Date fruit bread with walnuts

Fig & Date fruit bread with walnuts

is something that I miss being gluten-free. It is also my go-to treat when I am holidays as I try to steer clear of “bread” carbs in my normal routine.

So I made this great recipe & packed it in my suitcase for our recent holiday where we stayed in a gorgeous five star resort with full on breakfast buffet!

Ahhhh,…..breakfast buffet!! The best sort of buffet! The kind where the never-ending pastry & bread basket collides into the never-ending tropical fruit selection which prefaces the hot box of crispy bacon, eggs, congee, & vegetables!!!

I love it how International hotel breakfast buffets serve congee and vegetables and all sorts of other interesting non-Aussie breakfast staples. I particularly love it how they often serve roast vegetables – pumpkin, kumera, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms & cassava as the norm. It so goes well with the Paleo philosophy of “eat your dinner for breakfast”!

But holidays to me, mean toasted fruit bread with lashings of butter! So armed with my slices of bread, I march up to the buffet conveyer toaster and pop them in.

Needless to say, the speed was set to toast the plasticky sugary white bread that they had, so I had to put my bread through the toaster 3 times before I got it nice and brown and – well, toasty! And consequently, this generated a lot of curiosity for those others waiting for their toast to be ejected from the back of the machine to slide down the slippery dip onto ones anticipatory plate!

“Where did you get that fruit bread from?” “I didn’t see that on the buffet – have they run out?” “Ooooh, can I have some of that bread?”

Ooops, um, no, I brought this from home….. “Oh? I come from Brisbane too, where did you buy that?” Um,…. I made it, sad really….. that I have come to have breakfast at a 5 star resort and yet I still bring my own food!!

Anyway, back to the recipe. Do you have a Japanese or Asian bakery nearby? Are you familiar with the soft white bread, that stays fresh for ages? Well, apart from the preservatives in this bread, the Japanese bakers use a technique which help this lovely texture called Tangzhong. Despite being a Chinese word, it is a technique popularised by the Japanese and is the practice of cooking a portion of the flour and liquid in your recipe to make a paste (roux).

By cooking the flour, starches are released as the flour absorbs the water and swell to many times their own size. Adding this roux to your final dough makes a huge difference in the softness and fluffiness of your final dough. And it works just as well with gluten-free flour and wheat flour.

It is really easy to make Tangzhong. The usual recipe is a 5 to 1 liquid to solid ratio, mixed together in a pan. Heat the pan while stirring constantly. As it comes to a boil it will thicken to an almost glue like consistency. You can make this ahead and store it in the fridge but I just incorporate it into my recipe.

The gluten-free flour mix I used was  a very simple one. But I have also used a great one from fellow blogger, Lesley at Me and My Thermie. Find the recipe here.

Basic GF Flour Mix
210g brown rice
160g tapioca starch
160g cornflour (maize starch)
1 tab potato starch
1 tab xantham gum
Grind the rice on SP 9 for 80 seconds. Add the remaining flour mix ingredients and mix on SP 4 for a few seconds to combine well.
Take 30g flour mix and 100g water. Cook for 3 minutes on SP 3 at 90ºC. This is your Tangzhong.
To this mix, add:
200g water
1 large egg
1 teas apple cider vinegar
30g oil
30g honey
1 tab nut butter
70g cooked pumpkin* optional
Mix well on SP 5 for 10 seconds until smooth.  Because of the cooked Tangzhong, the mix should be warm. If you are using cold Tangzhong, use warm water.
 240g GF flour mix
2 teas cinnamon
1 tab instant yeast (15g)
Mix on SP 4 for 10 seconds. Press reverse and mix again for 10 seconds. It will be wet and thick.
I like ALOT of fruit in my fruit bread!

I like ALOT of fruit in my fruit bread!

Stir through:
A handful of chopped figs
A handful of raisins or chopped dates
A handful of walnuts or nuts/seeds of your choice
Pour into a greased & lined loaf tin and rest for 1 hour. Then bake for 35 minutes at 190ºC. I like to put a bowl of water in the oven as well to create a steamy atmosphere. Depending on the quantity of fruit used, the loaf will feel quite heavy but be soft  on the underside.
Try to wait until cold before slicing as it slices much better when cold. The photo above was a piece that I cut when it was straight out of the oven – you see, I just couldn’t wait to try it! So it looks a bit wet… 
*Pumpkin is optional – I used it as I had it on hand as it lends a softness to the bread also. You could use sweet potato, mashed potato, banana or applesauce. Or leave it out!



13 Comments leave one →
  1. April 4, 2015 10:34 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, the tangzhou sounds really interesting. I’m going to give it a try!

  2. Lisa permalink
    June 9, 2013 2:32 pm

    Hi I cant have corn flour is there another flour or starch I could use instead please?

    • June 9, 2013 4:54 pm

      You could try more tapioca flour or even buckwheat but I haven’t tested it.

      • Lisa permalink
        June 9, 2013 8:28 pm

        ok thanks will give it a try

  3. June 6, 2013 7:15 pm

    PS: Oops, just noticed that I missed an extra ‘o’ off my previous comment! Should have been ‘too’!

  4. June 6, 2013 6:27 pm

    Oh Sarah, I am salivating at the thought of this and am already planning to add my rhubarb, apple and date puree in lieu of the pumpkin! Thanks for the tag and mention to!!!! 🙂

    • June 6, 2013 7:11 pm

      Youre most welcome – let me know how you go!

      • June 6, 2013 7:14 pm

        Tonight’s job! I’m very keen to try your tangzhong method! Once upon a time, pre-Thermie, I used to get some really soft bread rolls from a Vietnamese bakery in Vic – is this why their rolls were so super soft, I wonder?

      • June 7, 2013 10:43 am

        Yes, this is why they were so soft! Did you spend much time in Victoria – my home town! Please let me know how it turns out!

      • June 7, 2013 7:17 pm

        Lived in Blackburn North for 10 years and prior to that Cairns and Tweed Heads!

        By the way, the fruit bread is delicious with some rhubarb purée spread on top!!! I think a smidgin’ of salt might have helped. I also used this method to make a seeded GF bread (added a tsp salt and it’s just tooooo yummy! Applesauce Cinnamon slice with rhubarb purée also made! Nom nom nom …

      • June 9, 2013 10:28 am

        Ah ha! I grew up in Mt Waverley and then built a house in eltham! So I drove thru Blackburn north regularly! My first full time job was at the dial a dinos there, remember that?!
        PS I don’t admit to many ppl!!!

      • June 9, 2013 10:41 pm

        Can’t recall Dial-a-Dinos in Blackburn, Sarah. However, hubby’s first p/t job was at the Clayton branch. Said to ask if you knew of Ian Pumper, who drove a ‘Mighty Boy’?!

      • June 10, 2013 3:27 pm

        No! Sorry – that’s so funny! The good thing about that job was I learnt the area very well!

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