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In which I get funky with freeze-dried raspberries and like it.

My husband gave me Paul Hollywood's Bread cookbook for my birthday in March, and I've been fascinated with the white chocolate and raspberry sourdough bread recipe he included in that book. I wanted to try it, but I haven't yet started my starter, the yeasty, fermented glop from which sourdough bread is born. Sourdough starters have to be fed and grown and tilled and mowed and brushed and bathed and buffed and waxed, and, frankly, I just haven't had the energy to deal with them, yet. I don't have time for a sourdough yeast baby, and, unlike human babies, sourdough babies don't get less needy in time--in fact, they get NEEDIER. It's a whole thing.

So I went back to How to Bake to see if there were any appropriate (adaptable) recipes for loaves of non-sourdough bread, and I found the fruit loaf recipe:

I knew that white chocolate and raspberries would require an enriched, sweeter bread, and this recipe fit the bill. I figured I should use dried raspberries, since the fruit in this recipe is dried, and the only dried raspberries I could find were on Amazon, and they were freeze-dried. I was a little worried that they'd be too hard, so I did quite a bit of research about whether or not to rehydrate them before baking them, if I should chop them into smaller pieces, yadda, yadda, yadda. The time I wasted looking into this issue! I probably should have used that time to apply for more jobs. Oh, well. Life is but a kaleidoscope of fascinating decisions. Turns out I shouldn't have worried--they were both crispy and tender, so they shattered easily and were pleasant to eat even before baking.

I hadn't yet made the regular fruit loaf, so I wasn't sure how the dough was supposed to feel, but it is a very slack dough--fluid and sticky to work with. I do think it's supposed to be that way, however, so I didn't really worry about it, much like I didn't worry about applying for jobs when I was, instead, researching freeze-dried raspberries. Let's all just relax! It turns out that I forgot to take pictures of the dough as I was mixing and kneading it initially. I was too busy admiring my kaleidoscope of decisions. However, I did plan on making the loaves again in the near future and taking more pictures then. (You'll see why in a moment.) I haven't made them again, yet, though, and I wanted to share them with the world before I forgot about the experience entirely. I cannot be responsible for people not knowing about raspberry white chocolate bread. I can't have that on my head! I'm already dealing with this whole Americans thing. (I'm referring to the TV show, not Donald Trump. He wishes I thought about him as much as I think about The Americans.)

So, here's the dough before I mixed the raspberries and white chocolate chips into it. You can see the slack dough under the raspberries and white chocolate chips.

And the next fascinating step, mixing, resulted in this:

So, I had to let the dough rise and then shape it and proof it, which I did not document with pictures. I totally forgot. To be fair, though, this was not the most interesting of recipes to photograph, with the exception of the bright pink raspberries that confounded and excited me. Shaping this dough was not the easiest task I've ever completed, but I persevered like the brave life soldier I am and made it round. Then I baked it, and it baked beautifully.

Then, I brushed them with melted butter, as per usual.

Now, here's where I made a grave error and why I need to make the loaves again to get them exactly right--I made an icing to spread over them that was too thin, AND I didn't wait until the loaves were completely cooled to apply the icing. It went . . . poorly.

I had envisioned a thick, white icing that coated the top of the loaf beautifully and opaquely and then sprinkling that clean white layer with crumbs of the bright pink raspberries. What I got, instead, was this:

Still kind of pretty and definitely still delicious but definitely NOT what I had envisioned. Next time, I will use fewer crumbs on top, too. They were fine but not really necessary. I was also a little worried about the fat content of the white chocolate adversely affecting the interior of the bread, but it didn't seem to.

I'm not sure if the larger holes are the result of over-proving or the result of a dough that WAS too slack, but the texture was really lovely, regardless. I'll be curious to see how the interior of the next batch turns out.

What did it taste like, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. Just like how I don't really like chocolate, I really don't like white chocolate, so I was not expecting to like the bread, even though I love raspberries. The smell of white chocolate freaks me out; it has an olfactory wang to it that I do not care for. That is as scientific and specific as I can get about it. It has a particular funk, like Bruno Mars' dancing. However, to, my complete surprise, I loved the bread, AND it didn't require butter because of the fat in the white chocolate.

And that was my experimental raspberry and white chocolate bread experience. The only real negative were the raspberry seeds, which were still very much present. Those little bastards will take over the world someday, and we will be powerless against them because we'll be too busy picking them out of our teeth.

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