Serve as dessert, with xynomysithra –the tangy ricotta-like fresh cheese from Chania, Crete. It is great for breakfast with yogurt and fruits, but can also be paired with aged and spicy cheeses. It is wonderful with gorgonzola and kopanisti –the Greek fermented cheese– especially complemented with Vinsanto of Santorini, with Mavrodaphne of Patras or port wine, but also with my aromatic lemon liqueur.
Freeze sliced figs in layers, on parchments paper, to be able to make the bread even when there are no fresh figs in the market.
Yields 2 medium loaves, or 2 flat laganes.
2 cups bread or pasta flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 teaspoons mixed ground coriander seeds, caraway and mahlep (about 2 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp ground mahlep, 1 teaspoons caraway seeds)
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper (optional)
4 or more cups spring water (non-chlorinated)
STUFFING for 1 of the 2 breads:
8-10 medium figs, end trimmed, cut into 2-3 slices
3 tablespoons brown sugar, preferably Muscovado or Demerara
Place flours, yeast and spices in a large bowl and mix well with a spatula. Make a well in the center and add 3 1/2 cups water. Use the spatula to incorporate the liquid. With a hand-held mixer fitted with dough hooks or in a standing mixer work the mixture for about 5 minutes adding more water, as needed. The dough should be quite wet and sticky.
Lightly oil a large bowl, as well as a piece of plastic wrap. Transfer the dough into the oiled bowl, cover with the oiled plastic wrap and place the bowl in the fridge, topping the plastic cover with a plate to prevent the rising dough from overflowing.
Leave in the fridge overnight and up to 2 days.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and halve with a large dough scraper. Use one of the pieces to make the fig-stuffed bread (see Note for ideas about the second piece).
Flatten the dough on a lightly floured surface with lightly floured hands to a piece about 15 X 8 inches. Sprinkle with the sugar, keeping 1 teaspoon for topping, and lay the fig slices on the dough, keeping 3-4 for topping. Roll the dough as you do a jelly roll press and stretch the loaf carefully, then transfer to a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, seam-side up. Sprinkle with the reserved sugar and arrange the reserved slices on top of the loaf.
Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let it rise for another 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450°F (230º C).
Sprinkle the bread with water then bake in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes or more, until well browned on top and bottom.
Let cool completely on a rack before slicing to serve.
For the second piece of the dough you have many possibilities: You can make laganes (flat breads) with various toppings like the Kumquat and Smoked Cheese bread, or the variation with Sliced Tomatoes instead of the kumquat.Or you can spread with the cheese and then arrange fig slices over it, sprinkling with rosemary.
You can also make a ciabatta-like loaf, transferring with two large spatulas or dough scrapers the dough to a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and baking it plain. You can also brush the top with milk and sprinkle with sesame, sunflower or any other seeds you like.