- 1 package active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup lukewarm water
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1⁄3 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup fig jam or fig preserves
- 4 to 5 fresh Mission figs, quartered
- 10 slices prosciutto
- 1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tbsp water
- 2 to 3 tbsp honey (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts (optional)
1 In a small bowl, whisk together the yeast and water. Let stand until frothy, about 5 minutes.
2 In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the milk, egg and yeast mixture. Fold in the flour mixture and the butter. Knead until a dough forms, 4 to 5 minutes.
3 Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning the dough to grease it all over. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm draft-free place until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.
4 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Punch the dough down and divide it into 3 equal-sized balls. Roll each ball into a log and line up the logs side by side on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Pinch one end of the three logs together. Begin to braid the loaf from left to right, tucking in dollops of the fig jam, the figs and prosciutto as you go, continuing down to the end of the braid. Pinch the ends together and tuck them under the loaf.
5 Allow the loaf to rise on the baking sheet for about 30 minutes, and then gently brush the egg yolk mixture over the top of the loaf.
6 Bake until the bread is dark golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool. Drizzle with the honey and top with the toasted hazelnuts, if using, immediately before serving.
Note: Bread is best when eaten the day it’s made, but this loaf will keep for up to 2 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Makes: 1 loaf