Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Christmas Bread

At Christmas I always bake bread that is a little different.  This year I have made a chocolate fruit loaf.  It starts with a bowl of raisins, sultanas and currants which are marinaded for at least 4 hours in a liquor.  For this I used a blackcurrant syrup from our summer harvest, with a little hot water.

For the dry ingredients I used a 500g mixture of a wholemeal spelt flour, white spelt flour and a strong white flour (for the gluten content).  To this I added a good tablespoon of cocoa powder and some dried yeast.  The dry ingredients were then whisked thoroughly to mix.
Honey was added to 200ml of boiling water in a jug, and another 200 ml of cold water was added to reduce the temperature.  The water was used to mix up the dough, along with a generous slug of walnut oil.  The dough was left to rise for an hour or so, until doubled in volume.  At this point the marinated fruit was drained and then placed over the dough.  The zest of an orange was grated onto the fruit and the whole mess was kneaded a second time into a stiff dough.  Seven equal sized balls of the dough were arranged in a round cake mould and left to rise.  The left over dough was shaped into a plat loaf.  A little nutmeg was grated on the top.
180 degrees  Celsius for 25 minutes was sufficient to bake the bread as spelt flour will burn in a very hot oven.
This will be a splendid tread on Christmas eve with some fine cheeses and a good wine.  OK, I also made a cashew and chocolate biscotti as an additional treat - it is Christmas and our friends will soon see it gone.

No comments: