makes 1 large or two small loaves

This is a European tradition that has continued in Australia and made with the first grapes of vintage it is as symbolic as it is delicious. In the past, we have served it to groups of visiting journalists and also made it for our colleagues working in vineyards. The fact that we made the vintage bread with grapes from Penfolds Block 42, the oldest existing vines in the world today was not lost on us, or those who enjoyed eating this wonderful bread. The general consensus is…divine!

We sometimes serve ours toasted with Corsican Anchoyade click here to go to the recipe

for the spice mix….I make this in bulk and freeze and vac it and use it for fruit loaf, hot cross buns and much, much more…see below for bulk quantities

3 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
6 whole cloves
20g juniper berries
10 cardamom pods

for the sugar syrup
50g caster sugar
50g water

Cooked on gentle heat just until the sugar is dissolved..cool.

for the bread
16g dried yeast
60g caster sugar
750g warm water (38°C blood temp is good)
100g EV olive oil (fruity rather than bitter and strong
960g strong flour + about 150g for finishing bread
1 nutmeg, freshly grated
10g fine sea salt
3 bunches wine grapes, plucked final weight 400g–500g
approximately 60g wild fennel seed
Maldon sea salt for scattering on the top

Method
Put the cinnamon sticks, cloves, juniper and cardamom into a spice grinder and powder them. Weigh the yeast, sugar, water and olive oil into a bowl and whisk until the yeast and sugar are dissolved. Weigh the flour into the Kenwood bowl, grate the nutmeg into the bowl and add the ground spice. Using the k-beater mix the dry ingredients together and then slowly add ¼ of the liquid mix. The grapes and salt must be added at this point or they will sink to the bottom of the bread and not be evenly distributed through the bread. Mix until the dough comes together…it is very wet! Cover with plastic and allow to prove. With a Kenwood major bowl it will be 5cm from top of bowl.

Cover two baking sheets with silicon mats. Using a sieve, sift a generous amount of flour onto your work surface and then using a bowl scraper scrape the dough onto the surface. Sift more four over the top and using the flat of the bowl scraper cut the dough roughly in half. Using two bowl scrapers lift both pieces of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, trying to leave the wet un–floured dough on top. Dab the top with the sugar syrup, scatter the fennel and salt onto the top.

Pre heat oven to 210°C and set a timer for 30 minutes
When the dough is well risen again put it in the oven and bake until it is coloured and browned on the bottom. Sit the tray on a rack and allow to cool for 15 minutes before carefully lifting it from the baking tray to the rack to cool.

left over…as if!
But it does happen if you make lots!

  • divine bread and butter pudding, especially with house-made raspberry or cherry jam
  • toasted with butter the most heavenly breakfast with coffee