European Bread with a Taiwan Accent

My little boy is having school function today and so no outdoor activity for me as well. Since it is terribly hot in Hong Kong with temperature rising over 30ºC, baking at home sounds like a good choice.

Instead of continuing with my journey on sliced bread as for the past few weeks, I plan to do something a little bit special (and with ingredients readily available at home) – An european bread with red wine and dried-fruits.

So how come this is related to Taiwan?


The answer is that I am using Longan as one of the dried fruits.

The story started in 2008 when Wu Pao-chun (吳寶春) and his team got the first runner-up in the 2008 Bakery World Cup of the Coupe Louise Lesaffre (“Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie“).

The bread used for the competition is the “Fermented Glutinous Rice and Dried Longan Bread (米釀桂圓麵包)” and has been sold for over 100,000 as of early 2010.

Fermented Glutinous Rice and Dried Longan Bread (米釀桂圓麵包)
Fermented Glutinous Rice and Dried Longan Bread (米釀桂圓麵包)

Since then, variations of european bread with Longan as the major ingredient becomes extremely popular in Taiwan.


Now back to my baking work.

Red Wine with Dried-fruit bread
Red Wine with Dried-fruit bread

Red Wine and Dried-fruit Bread recipe:

IngredientsGrams/mlBaker’s %
Modified Sourdough Starter  
  Bread flour (for 20% pre-fermented)125100%
  Instant yeast1.251.0%
Main dough  
  Bread flour20071.1%
  Whole-wheat flour5017.7%
  Red Wine10035.5%
  Instant yeast2.50.9%



Rather than going through series of sourdough creation and cultivation steps, I have adopted a modified approach as commonly used by bakers in Taiwan. Frankly speaking, I think this is an over-fermented dough rather than a sourdough.

It works like this:

  • Mix all the ingredients (as in “Modified Sourdough Starter” above) together
  • Knead for 6 to 7 minutes until the dough is smooth
  • Place in room temperature for 4 hours or put inside the fridge for low-temperature fermentation overnight
  • Divide the fermented dough in balls of 50 g each and wrapped with Cling Wrap
  • In case, you are not going to use up all the fermented dough, store the fermented dough balls in fridge for later use
My “Sourdough” ball


  • Soak the Longan and cranberries in 50 ml of red wine for at least 2 days in the fridge
  • Restore to room temperature before use
  • Filter off the dried-fruits and dry them with kitchen paper
  • Reuse those filter-off red wine and add it up to 100 g for the main dough
  • Optionally boil the red wine to remove the alcohol
Red Wine
Longan and cranberry soaked in red wine for two days
Longan and cranberry soaked in red wine for two days

In case you are going to boil the red wine, please remember to increase the amount of the red wine as it will vaporise. I nearly used up the whole bottle of 250 ml red wine.


Main Dough

  1. Mix all the ingredients (except dried-fruits and walnuts) and 50 g of the sourdough starter
  2. Knead the dough until it is smooth and rest for 60 minute until double in size
  3. Relax the dough
  4. Add dried-fruits and walnuts and shape the dough in a ball
  5. Place the dough in a proofing basket and rest for another 60 minutes until double in size
Main dough in proofing basket
Main dough in proofing basket


Pre-heat the oven to 220°C, spray some water on the dough surface to make it a little bit crispy and bake for 25 minutes.

Dough scored before baking
Dough scored before baking


Freshly baked Red Wine and dried-fruit bread
Freshly baked Red Wine and dried-fruit bread
Sliced Red Wine and dried-fruit bread
Sliced Red Wine and dried-fruit bread

Served with a cup of hand-dripped coffee.

Hand-dripped coffee


Any Room for Improvement?

Ok, let’s do it with my disclaimer first – This is the first time I worked with red wine in baking.

I found the taste of the bread is a little bit strong in red wine and the colour is slightly exceeding what I expected. May be I should reduce the portion of red wine in my later attempt.

The other area of concern is the Longan which I considered it as quite plain in taste and can’t catch people’s attention. Any idea to improve it?

By the way, the bread texture is not that good and probably I have to improve my kneading work with such a highly moist bread dough as well. 🤣🤣

Categories: Baking

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