What a great day for baking, today was a Lemon Fruit Bread. I upped the lemon juice content to be half lemon juice half water and included the grated peel as the Myer lemons have such a lovely skin. i also used 2 free range eggs from my daughters place in Serpentine where the 3 Hens range over 5 Hectares, the lemons also came from Serpentine
This is a good one for using those lovely Myer Lemons, there is some prior preparation to making the lemon the star of this and i guess it would also work for scones and fruit cake too, that is the soaking of the dried sultanas in lemon juice for a few hours or overnight and then drying them off again before incorporating into the mix. Combine all your ingredients excepting the sultanas and the butter and salt, just bring them together (hydrating) and then let them sit covered for 1/2 to 1 hour. then begin your mixing in earnest, i usually mix by hand on the bench top but machine is fine once the dough is formed and looking reasonably smooth you start to incorporate the butter and salt, the theory behind this is that the gluten strands have had a chance to develop, i find that i add a smear across the dough and work it in each small addition, the dough will come back to a nice smooth homogeneous mass this is when the dried sultanas are worked in. This formula has a ratio of 50% fruit which takes a bit of rolling and folding to get into the dough. Once that is done it needs to bulk ferment in a container that will allow for expansion to occur (double in size). Depending upon the weather and temperature of the room where the BF is going to occur it will be around 2 to 3 hours, if you mark the container or even take a phone pic you will have a good indication of when that has happened for you. The dough is then “Taken” and degassed “punched down” it can then be divided into portions , if its going into tins and you are not sure of the quantity required use the doubling in size as a guide to the volume required and make a note of how much you needed for future reference. But other than that weigh the dough piece and divide evenly. “Hand the dough up” bring it into a compact round shape cover with a cloth or plastic to prevent skinning and protect from draughts allow to rest for 10 to 20 minutes the dough will feel relaxed and a bit more puffy. time to shape to your desired shape, rounds , torpedoes or twists again cover, i put mine in plastic shopping bags to make like a little tent to prove. should be allowed to double in size again about an hour or so depending on its environment. they go into an oven set just under the 200C mark and baked for 20 + minutes . upon removal from the oven brush with a sugar syrup made from lemon juice and sugar melted in the microwave, it will give you a sticky shiny but tangy top crust. i was looking at the new season Oranges on my daughter’s trees and thinking Orange and Poppy Seed Loaf coming up next!