Sometimes, when the world seems turned upside down, it helps to do something guaranteed to bring you joy. For me, that’s bread baking. In an effort to reconcile seeming opposites (the great challenge of our age), I created this recipe combining the sweetness of figs and honey with the smoky bite of dried chipotle pepper.
Before you begin mixing the ingredients, may I recommend that you take a moment and lift your spirits with this cover by Maati Baani and some amazing kids:
There now. Don’t you feel better? Let’s get started…
NOTE: Using only one chipotle pepper will result in a very mild hint of flavor. 2 or 3 will be more noticeable. Dial up the heat according to your tastes.
Chipotle Fig Baguettes
- 2 scant tablespoons (or 2 ¼-ounce packages) active dry yeast
- 2 cups warm water about 110 degrees
- 10 black figs
- 1-3 dried chipotle peppers
- ½ cup warm water about 110 degrees
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup hazelnut meal / flour
- 5-6 cups unbleached flour
In a large bowl, stir yeast into 2 cups of water to soften.
Using a food processor, combine figs, chipotle pepper(s), and ½ cup water into a wet paste.
Add fig and pepper paste, honey, salt, olive oil, hazelnut meal, and 2 cups of the unbleached flour. Beat vigorously for two minutes.
Gradually add flour, ¼ cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.
Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding flour a little at a time, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
Put dough into an oiled bowl. Turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide into four pieces.
Roll or press each piece flat into a rectangle long enough to fit your baguette pan or cookie sheet.
Shape the dough by rolling it long way, pinch it along the seam, and place seam-side down on a well-oiled pan.
Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
About 10 minutes (30 if using a baking stonbefore baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Just before baking, cut slits across the top of your loaves about ¼-inch deep.
For a crustier crust, spritz the loaves with water or toss some ice cubes into the oven after you put the pans in.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the loaves reaches 190 degrees.
Immediately remove bread from pans or baking sheet and cool on a rack.