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Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Slightly Sweet Italian Christmas Bread That Will Surely Turn Any Frown Upside Down.

I am a self confessed carb-a-holic.  Just ask my doctor or my trusty blood glucose meter! (Thank goodness I'm not a diabetic yet but I often skate around the borders of it so I have to be careful.) 

At any rate, just because I can't eat any piece of bread that's not nailed down, that doesn't mean you and your family have to go without.  

I recently came across a rather tasty recipe for the holiday season whether you make merry like myself or are of the Grinch nature like some of my favorite vampires.  


Italian Christmas Bread with Raisins and Candied Fruits is a tasty treat your entire family is sure to enjoy!  

A slightly sweet Christmas bread.  It is similar to a brioche but a lot lighter.

Ingredients

FOR THE SPONGE:

4 tablespoons, 1 teaspoon, 3 pinches Whole Fat Milk
2 Tablespoons Dry Instant Yeast
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1-⅞ ounces, weight All-purpose Flour

FOR THE BREAD:

7 ounces, weight All-purpose Flour
1-½ ounces, weight Sugar
3-⅝ ounces, weight Dry Raisins
4 tablespoons, 2-⅞ pinches Whole Fat Milk
1-⅞ ounces, weight Candied Fruits
2 whole Small Eggs, Divided Use
1-⅝ ounces, weight Unsalted Butter

Preparation

Let’s start off with the sponge. Put the milk into a saucepan over low heat. Heat up the milk to lukewarm, then add yeast and sugar, stir it, remove from heat and let it stand on your counter for about 10 minutes or until it becomes all freaky and bubbling.

Next up, put it into a mixing bowl and add 50 grams of flour. Give it a stir, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it stand in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

In the bowl of your electric mixer add 200 grams of flour and 40 grams of sugar. Add the sponge and set aside.

Then take the raisins and put them into a bowl covered in warm water Soak them for about 10 minutes. Then drain the water and squeeze out all the liquid from the raisins. Add them to the bowl with the sponge mixture. Also add the milk and the candied fruits. Add one egg.

Grab 45 grams of unsalted butter, melt it in your microwave (this will take 30-60 seconds roughly) and pour it into the bowl with the sponge mixture.

Now turn on your mixer to medium/low and knead the dough for a good 10 minutes or until it gets nice, smooth and soft. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm place for about 2 hours or until it doubles in size.

Grab the dough and divide it into 3 pieces. Roll out each one into a long rope (about 2 cm thick and 50 cm long). Press one end of the 3 ropes together and then braid them together. Press the other end together when you are done braiding. Then link together the 2 ends to get a wreath shape. 

Place it into a plastic bag (make sure the bag does not touch the bread) or cover with plastic wrap and let it stand in a warm place for about 40 minutes. Then place it onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Preheat oven to 180 C (375 F).

Next up beat the remaining egg in a small bowl, brush the beaten egg over the top of the bread and bake it at 180 C (375 F) for about 25-30 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it cool down before serving.

Thank You To My Cooking Pals at Tasty Kitchen.com  

Here's the link to the recipe on their site- http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/holidays/italian-christmas-bread-with-raisins-and-candied-fruits/

And Here's the link to the recipe's creator's website.  On it you will find step by step instructions on creating this delicious holiday bread as well as easy to follow pictures to guide you along the way.

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