Fringed, Fragrant, Fanciful ... Costa Ricans Just Call It "Good Bread." (Includes Recipes)

Sunset, April 1987 | Go to article overview

Fringed, Fragrant, Fanciful ... Costa Ricans Just Call It "Good Bread." (Includes Recipes)


Fringed, fragrant, fanciful . . . Costa Ricans just call it "good bread'

A spiraled fringe decorates this soft,springy, flavorful loaf we discovered in Limoon, Costa Rica. Richly scented with spices and studded with dried fruit, the loaf indeed lives up to its name: pan bon --good bread.

Caramelized sugar and cheddar cheesegive the loaf its warm hue. A strip of dough cut like a fringe decorates the top. The recipe makes two loaves. Serve them freshly baked, or wrap and freeze. To reheat, thaw bread unwrapped, then place on a sheet of foil and cover lightly with foil; bake in a 350| oven until warm, 15 to 20 minutes.

Costa Rican Fringed Spice Bread

1 cup sugar

1 3/4 cups water

1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine, cutinto pieces

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 packages active dry yeast

5 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons each ground ginger andground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon each ground nutmeg andsalt

1 cup (4 oz.) firmly packed shreddedsharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

Pour sugar into a 10- to 12-inch fryingpan and cook over high heat, shaking pan often, until sugar liquefies and turns a dark amber color (do not scorch), about 4 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups hot water and butter. Reduce heat to low. Stir until all sugar dissolves and butter melts. Remove from heat. Let cool to 110|. Add vanilla. In a large bowl, soften yeast in 1/4 cup 110| water, about 5 minutes. Add cooled sugar mixture, 4 cups flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

With a dough hook, electric mixer, orheavy spoon, beat dough until flour is incorporated.

If using a dough hook, mix in 1 cup flour.Beat at high speed until dough is stretchy and pulls cleanly from bowl, about 3 minutes; if needed, add more flour, 1 tablespoon spoon at a time. …

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