Christmas is definitely upon us and with it comes the Christmas food preparation. Traditionally, Christmas food contains lots of goodies, and it tends to keep well – which makes sense because in the earlier days, one had to start preparing Christmas food months ahead to be able to get everything ready.
Today most of what you need for the Holiday is conveniently available in the grocery store. Certain things ends up being more expensive to make yourself than to buy ready made due to all the ingredients you need.
Which has its downsides because preparing Christmas food really gives you a boost of the “Christmas feeling.” If you are a Christmas person, it is nice to pick out a few items to make from scratch every year, as a tradition. It doesn’t have to be the most complicated cakes or homemade sausages prepared with expensive equipment you only use once a year. It is all about making the process enjoyable and awaken the anticipation. Make it your Christmas thing. Create your tradition. And share with someone you care about. The more time you find to prepare things, the more you’ll enjoy this special Holiday. That’s my experience anyways.
Here’s a generous Christmas bread with lots of fruit and grains. It takes two days to prepare – but it is well worth the effort. This bread is juicy and tasty – and keeps well for several days.
Christmas Muesli Bread (2 bread)
250 g dried figs (I used dried apricots, forgot to buy figs)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup flaxseeds
3/4 cup whole rye berries (or wheat berries)
2 cups cold water
Chop the figs and put them together with raisins, flaxseeds and rye berries in a bowl. Add the cold water and stir well. Cover the bowl with plastic and leave over night.
3 3/4 cups rye flour
1 1/4 cup boiling water
1 pk (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
3-5 cups of white bread flour
- Put the rye flour in a large bowl and pour in the boiling water.
- Add the fruit mixture from day 1 and stir.
- When the mixture holds about 104 F (37 C), add the yeast. If you need to leave it to cool down a bit before adding the yeast, then cover the mixture with plastic and wait until ready.
- Add salt and about half of the white flour. The amount of white flour needed depends on how dry the fruit is, so you need to feel the dough as you go. The dough is supposed to be elastic and smooth, but not dry.
- Leave to rise for a few hours, mine needed about 4 hours but the original recipe says about 2-3 hours. The dough should be about double in size.
- Take the dough out onto a dusted surface and knead lightly until smooth, adding more white flour if needed.
- Split the dough in two halves and shape long bread, then place in pre greased bread tins.
- After rise for about 30 minutes, bake at 390 F (convection oven) for about 45 minutes. Take the bread out of the tins and leave to bake for another 15-20 minutes, checking after 10 minutes by knocking underneath. If they sound hollow, the bread is ready. If not, leave for longer.
- Cool down on a rack. Store in paper bag (I use two XL brown paper lunch bags to store my bread. One on top of the other) or wrapped up in a table cloth.
I'm Currently living in Florida, USA, but I'm Norwegian born and bred. At the moment I enjoy baking bread and blogging about it. I enjoy blogging in general, because I like writing. But I'm trained as an illustrator, originally ... in England. One day I'll write a book. About bread. And illustrate it myself. Maybe. Life will see.