There are so many types of Christmas cakes and cookies you can make for the Holiday – you can bake ’til you drop if you want. But there is also Christmas bread, which is full of nutritious grains and nuts and fruits that contribute to the seasonal luxury. You gotta have breakfast. And maybe a snack before bedtime? Christmas bread is a treat.
I have made two kinds of Christmas bread this month, both of them retrieved from the collection of recipes in Wenche Frølichs book “Amazing Bread”. The first one, Generous Christmas Bread, is lighter than the second one, with whole grains and dried fruits. The second one, which I’m sharing on this post, is dark, chewy and full of almonds and spices. They are different in texture and taste, yet they both taste like Christmas. But this one makes your house smell like Christmas too during baking as all the aromatic spices release into the room.
Personally I love this bread. But it’s quite distinctive – and perhaps not in the category of “family favorites.” It keeps very well, up to ten days I would say, and it is perfect for breakfast or as a snack with only butter, jam, cream cheese or a slice of Norwegian Goat cheese if you happen to have that available.
It takes a couple of days to make Christmas bread, which it should, because it is rich, luxurious and traditional. You don’t achieve that combination with a quick-fix.
Dark Christmas Bread
2 1/2 cup luke warm water
1 1/4 tsp yeast
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup rye flour
stir the yeast into the water with the honey and the salt and add the rye. Stir thoroughly, then cover the bowl with plastic and leave on the counter for the next day. It will rise – and probably collapse again, but that’s ok because you will add more flour on day 2.
150 g whole almonds (not peeled)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp crushed coriander seeds
10 seedless prunes, chopped
15 dry apricots, soaked and chopped
10 dates, chopped
2 cups whole wheat
1-2 cups white bread flour
Add all the new ingredients to your mixture from day 1 and stir well. The dough will not be kneaded and is supposed to be soft enough for stirring with a wooden spoon. Pour the dough into two small, greased loaf tins (1 lb) or one large one. The smaller size suits this bread quite nicely, I think.
Wet your fingers and press the dough down into the tin to remove potential air bobbles, and then smooth the surface. Leave to after rise for at least one hour, covered with plastic or a kitchen towel.
Before baking, brush with water and sprinkle sliced almonds as decoration. Bake at 350 F in convection oven for about 45 minutes, then take the bread out of the tins and leave them to bake for another 12-15 minutes.
Wrap the bread in kitchen towels during cooling to avoid drying out. When the bread is completely cool, place in a tight plastic bag and leave for a couple of days before eating.
I know there are not many days left to prepare food for the big Holiday – but this is a very nice winter bread that keeps well and – who said the house can only smell like Christmas in December …?
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.