I created this wonderful Christmas Fruit 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 could not quit eating the first loaf. Hopefully my neighbors liked this Christmas Fruit Bread as much as we do!
- 1 1/4 cups water, warmed to 110 degrees F.
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons 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 yeast
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups of mixed nuts, chopped and either chopped dried fruit or candied fruit (I use chopped almonds, candied cherries, candied citron, candied orange peel, and raisins)**
- 1 cup powdered sugar (confectioners' sugar)
- 4 tablespoons milk
Bread Machine Instructions:
Place all ingredients except nuts and dried/candied fruit in bread pan of your bread machine. Process according to manufacturer's instructions for a dough setting. Do not be afraid to open the lid and check the dough. 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).
If you can not judge your dough by looking, stick your finger in and feel the dough. It should be slightly tacky to the touch. When the bread machine has completed the dough cycle, remove the dough from the pan to a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough several times and form the dough into an oval; cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
Stand Up Mixer Instructions:
In a large bowl or in the bowl of a 5-quart stand mixer, add all the ingredients. Using a dough hook, mix all the ingredients together into a uniform dough. 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).
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until elastic, about 15 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
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. Fold dough into an envelope by folding the top 1/3 of the way to the bottom. Then fold the bottom a 1/3 of the way over the top. Then press dough with the palm of your hand to make an indentation down the center of the dough and fold the top completely to the bottom, sealing the seam with the palm of your hand.
Place on a baking sheet dusted with cornmeal or covered with a silpad; cover and place in a warm spot to rise for approximately 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
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 nott 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.
After dough has risen, slash the bread with a very sharp knife making three 1/2-inch deep diagonal slashes. Brush the top of the bread with cold water and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until nicely browned. A good check is to use an instant digital thermometer to test your bread. The internal temperature should be between 200 and 210 degrees F.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
Makes 1 1/2-pound loaf.Sugar Glaze Instructions:
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.
* 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.
I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer. Originally designed for professional use, the Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is used by chefs all over the world. I only endorse a few products, on my web site, that I like and use regularly.
You can learn more or buy yours at: Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer.
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