Breads

Fig & Black Pepper Bread For That Sweet & Savory Craving

For those that don’t know before COVID, I read a lot. We used to have a dog Kiki, that was all about routine. Her bedtime was 9 PM sharp, so I would go to bed with her and read for an hour or so.

Since she passed away in June I hadn’t read as much, the routine was broken and I didn’t really have a reason to go to bed at 9 PM anymore. I did miss reading and obviously, I miss Kiki.

Since January I started getting back into the routine of heading to bed earlier and reading instead of watching Netflix. I have reread a couple of older books like the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen, and a few new ones, like Lethal White by Robert Galbraith.

I had forgotten about the recipe at the back of First Frost for the Fig and Black Pepper Bread. I finished the book two weeks ago and have been thinking about this bread ever since, so I figured I should make it.

I honestly forgot how delicious this bread was. It is the perfect amount of sweet, from the figs, and savoury, from the pepper.

You can use either fresh figs or dried figs, whichever you have on hand. If you use fresh figs they are quite juicy so have quite a bit of extra flour on hand when inserting them.

You can either make one large loaf or two smaller loaves, it really depends on your preference. If you do smaller loaves just watch your bake time, it won’t take as long for them to bake.

Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 1/2 cups white flour, plus more for handling

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped figs, fresh or dried whichever you have on hand.

2 tsp coarse black pepper (only use coarse pepper)

2 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus more for oiling a bowl

2 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast (1 package)

1 1/2 cups warm water

Directions

Whisk the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt, pepper, and yeast in a bowl fitted into your stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook.

Combine olive oil and warm water in a pitcher, then pour into the flour mixture. Turn on the mixer and let the dough hook knead for 5 minutes until the dough has formed a tight ball around the hook.

While the dough is kneading, pour about 1 tbsp olive oil into a large bowl and lightly spread it around the interior with a paper towel. You’ll want the entire bowl oiled.

Lightly wet a kitchen handtowel, wringing out all excess water until the towel is damp.

When the five minutes is up, turn off the mixer and remove the dough from the hook. The dough will be smooth, not sticky, and slightly warm to the touch.

Place the dough into the oiled bowl, then cover with the damp towel. Place the bowl in a warm place and let rise for about an hour until the dough is doubled in size.

While you’re waiting for the dough to rise, chop your figs and set them aside.

Place about 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour in a small bowl and set aside.

Once the hour has passed, remove the dough from the bowl and place it in your workspace. Lightly flour your hands with the flour you set aside (while keeping some in reserve), then gently knead the chopped figs into the dough. Be sure to incorporate the figs evenly throughout the dough to make sure they don’t all end up on the crust. If you are using fresh figs this is a messy process, fresh figs are juicy. Re-flour your hands as necessary.

Once figs are incorporated, place dough on an ungreased baking sheet and shape it into an oval. Using a sharp knife, slice three shallow lines along the top of the dough, then sprinkle all over with flour.

Let the dough rise, uncovered, on the baking sheet for another 10-15 minutes until it swelled up a little more. It might take a bit longer if your kitchen isn’t warm.

Preheat your oven to 350° F.

Place the baking sheet in a 350° F oven and bake the dough for 40-45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and crispy. The figs will be slightly browned but should not start to burn.

Remove from the oven and let the loaf cool on a baking sheet for 30 minutes, then remove the loaf to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Fig & Black Pepper Bread

Course Appetizer
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 cups white flour plus more for handling
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped figs fresh or dried whichever you have on hand.
  • 2 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil  plus more for oiling a bowl
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1package)
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water

Instructions

  • Whisk the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt, pepper, and yeast in a bowl fitted into your stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook.
  • Combine olive oil and warm water in a pitcher, then pour into the flour mixture. Turn on the mixer and let the dough hook knead for 5 minutes until the dough has formed a tight ball around the hook.
  • While the dough is kneading, pour about 1 tbsp olive oil into a large bowl and lightly spread it around the interior with a paper towel. You'll want the entire bowl oiled.
  • Lightly wet a kitchen hand towel, wringing out all excess water until the towel is damp.
  • When the five minutes is up, turn off the mixer and remove the dough from the hook. The dough will be smooth, not sticky, and slightly warm to the touch.
  • Place the dough into the oiled bowl, then cover with the damp towel. Place the bowl in a warm place and let rise for about an hour until the dough is doubled in size.
  • While you're waiting for the dough to rise, chop your figs and set them aside.
  • Place about 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Once the hour has passed, remove the dough from the bowl and place it in your workspace. Lightly flour your hands with the flour you set aside (while keeping some in reserve), then gently knead the chopped figs into the dough. Be sure to incorporate the figs evenly throughout the dough to make sure they don't all end up on the crust. If you are using fresh figs this is a messy process, fresh figs are juicy. Re-flour your hands as necessary.
  • Once figs are incorporated, place dough on an ungreased baking sheet and shape it into an oval. Using a sharp knife, slice three shallow lines along the top of the dough, then sprinkle all over with flour.
  • Let the dough rise, uncovered, on the baking sheet for another 10-15 minutes until it's swelled up a little more. It might take a bit longer if your kitchen isn't warm.
  • Preheat your oven to 350° F.
  • Place the baking sheet in a 350° F oven and bake the dough for 40-45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and crispy. The figs will be slightly browned but should not start to burn.
  • Remove from the oven and let the loaf cool on a baking sheet for 30 minutes, then remove the loaf to finish cooling on a wire rack.