Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas Bread

Last Christmas I saw a Christmas Bread recipe on the TV and it looked so delicious I did it myself. Our family don't have any special traditions for Christmas morning/breakfast so I am kind of attempting to get this bread in there.. which means I am making it again this Christmas! Last holiday we had both my mum's brothers and their families over as well as my grandparents so it was a very full house. This Christmas it's just my immediate family, so we'll have to eat lots more of the bread ourselves! The recipe was from River Cottage and can be found here. I didn't change it too much.

75g raisins
125g sultanas
50g dried apple, roughly chopped (I used dried apple, pear and apricot)
2-3 tbsp apple brandy (I used normal brandy)
500g strong white flour
150ml warm milk
100g butter, softened
100g golden caster sugar
2 medium eggs
7g dried yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
60g hazelnuts, roughly chopped (I used ground hazelnuts)
2 tsp mixed peel
1 tsp preserved stem ginger (I did not include this in mine)
Zest ½ orange

Steep the raisins, sultanas and chopped fruit in brandy/apple brandy for a few hours or preferably overnight. I just did this first and it took a few hours before I needed them again in the recipe.

Mix the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, spices, eggs, milk, butter and vanilla in a large bowl and knead for around ten minutes until it's all combined, and the dough is smooth and elastic. (I had my little sister do this part!)

Leave to rise until doubled in size (this took at least two hours for mine.. and I forgot to take a picture after that!).

Once risen, spread the dough out on a surface and cover with the fruits, peel and nuts, roll up and knead lightly. The bits will come out but just push them back into the dough. 

Butter a cake tin and dust with flour. Divide the dough into seven equal balls and place them in the tin as below. Leave in a warm place for at least an hour to prove. Again I left mine for at least two hours to let it rise a bit more.

Sprinkle golden caster sugar/brown sugar on top (this wasn't included in the original recipe but is a tasty addition. Bake the bread in a preheated oven (160 degrees celcius) for 45-60 minutes.

I have the bread lightly toasted for breakfast (although I do have most bread toasted, it doesn't need toasting apparently) with some butter. Delicious!!

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