Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Fruit Bread Recipe

I created this bread because I wanted a sweet bread that I could give to my favorite neighbors for Christmas. My husband and I really like this bread, and we couldn't quit eating the first loaf. Hopefully my neighbors liked it as much as we do.
Breakfast Fruit Bread

Christmas Fruit Bread
Recipe Type: Yeast Bread, Brunch and Breakfast, Christmas
Yields: 1 large loaf
Prep time: 15 min
Rise time: 30 min
Cook time: 30 minutes


1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F.)
2 eggs
, room temperature
2 tablespoons oil (olive oil, canola oil or vegetable oil)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon diastatic barley malt (optional)*
4 3/4 cups bread flour 
3 teaspoons instant active dry
2 to 2 1/2 cups of mixed chopped nuts and either chopped dried fruit or candied fruit (I used chopped almonds, candied cherries, candied citron, candied orange peel, and raisins)**

* Also called gluten flour, instant gluten flour, pure gluten flour, and vital wheat gluten depending on vendor and manufacturer. This is flour with the starch and bran removed. Gluten is the natural protein in the wheat endosperm which, when combined with water, forms a taffy-like dough. This retains the gas and steam from baking.
** To keep dried fruit and nuts from sticking together, put them in a small bowl with approximately 2 teaspoons flour; stir to thoroughly combine. 

Place all ingredients except nuts and dried/candied fruit in bread pan of your bread machine. Select dough setting and press start. Check the dough (don't be afraid to open the lid). It should form a nice elastic ball. If you think the dough is too moist, add additional flour (a tablespoon at a time). The same is true if the dough is looking dry and gnarly. Add warm water (a tablespoon at a time).
When dough cycle has finished, remove dough from pan and turn out onto a lightly-floured surface. Knead the nuts and dried/candied fruits into the dough. Form dough into an oval, cover with a cotton towel or plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
After resting, turn dough bottom side up and press to flatten. Shape dough into a loaf and place on a baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray or on a Silcone Baking Mat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise for approximately 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled (time can vary depending on room temperature). After rising, slash the bread with a very sharp knife making three 1/2-inch deep diagonal slashes.
Oven Rising: Sometimes I use my oven for the rising. Turn the oven on for a minute or so, then turn it off again. This will warm the oven and make it a great environment for rising bread. If you can't comfortably press your hand against the inside of the oven door, the oven is too hot. Let it stand open to cool a bit.
Cool or Refrigerator Rise: If I don't have the time to wait for the rise to finish or I know that I will be interrupted before the completed rise, I do a cool rise. A cool rise is when the dough is place in the refrigerator and left to rise slowly over night approximately 8 to 12 hours. I usually do this after the first rise and the dough has been shaped into a loaf.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. A good check is to use an instant digital thermometer to test your bread. The temperature should be between 200 and 210 degrees. Remove from oven and cool on a bread rack. Let baked loaf cool for 30 minutes before cutting (this is because the bread is still cooking while it is cooling).
While the baked bread is cooling, make the Sugar Glaze. Brush the Sugar Glaze over the slightly warm bread. Let bread completely cool before slicing.
Makes 1 large loaf or 2 smaller loaves.

Sugar Glaze:
1 cup powdered (confectioners’ sugar)
4 tablespoons milk

In a small saucepan over low heat. Heat the sugar and milk until the sugar is dissolved and slight thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Let cool slightly before brushing the Sugar Glaze on top of the loaf.

Source: whatscookingamerica.net

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