cornish saffron breadrating:
makes 2 x 2lb loaves
1/2tsp saffron strands
400g unbleached strong white bread flour
25g fresh yeast
50g ground almonds
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
50g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
75g softened butter (I just hurled it in the microwave for 30 seconds)
100g mixed fruit (whatever you have - I just used sultanas)
Lightly grease 2 x 2lb loaf tins. I tend to use that spray on sunflower oil for greasing - much easier.
Place the saffron in a small bowl, heat half the milk until almost boiling, then pour it over the saffron to infuse for 30 minutes.
Heat the other half of the milk till luke warm. In a bowl, place 50g of the flour, and the yeast, and pour the warm milk on the top. Leave for 15 minutes or so.
In a bowl, mix the remainder of the flour, ground almonds, spices, sugar and salt, and make a well in the centre. Add the saffron infusion, yeast mixture and softened butter to the centre of the flour mix and mix to a very soft dough. I use a food mixer with a dough hook for this, but if you have strong arms, feel free to knead by hand for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Put the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise for a couple of hours, until doubled in bulk. Turn it out again and knocked it back, and add in the fruit. Divide into two, shape into vaguely loaf shaped artefaces, and place in the prepared loaf tins; cover them with oiled clingfilm.
I left mine overnight at this stage, and they were fine, but leave till doubled in size anyway.
Cook for 10 minutes at gas 7, then 15-20 at gas 5. While they're cooking, heat 2 tbsps milk with 50g caster sugar until the sugar has dissolved.
When the loaves are cooked, brush the milk/sugar mix on the top to glaze, then leave in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.
We were greedy and ate ours almost straight out of the tin - it was gorgeous. I'll be making this again.