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Italian Sweet Christmas Bread

Nadia GalinovaNadia Galinova
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Italian Sweet Christmas Bread
Image: Yordanka Kovacheva
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17/12/2021
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Preparation
55 min.
Cooking
35 min.
Тotal
90 min.
Servings
12
"The famous Italian Sweet Christmas Bread is not difficult to make, its hard to resist"

Ingredients

  • For the first dough
  • flour - 9.2 oz (260 g)
  • water - 1.7 fl oz (50 ml)
  • eggs - 3 pcs.
  • fresh yeast - 0.7 oz (20 g)
  • sugar - 1 tbsp.
  • For the second dough
  • flour - 10.6 oz (300 g)
  • milk - 1/2 cup (100 ml)
  • dark honey - 0.35 oz (10 g)
  • fresh yeast - 0.4 oz (12 g)
  • sugar - 5.3 oz (150 g)
  • vanilla sugar - 0.3 oz (8 g)
  • vermouth - 4/5 tbsp.
  • dark rum - 1 tbsp.
  • orange peel - from 1 orange
  • lemon peel - from 1 lemon
  • butter - 3.5 oz (100 g)
  • nuts - 7 oz (200 g) almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, pine nuts
  • dried fruit - 6.4 oz (180 g) figs, raisins, dates, cranberries
  • chocolate drops - 0.7 oz (20 g) for the dough + for topping
  • powdered sugar - 2.1 oz (60 g) for the glaze
  • milk - 1 - 2 tbsp. for the glaze
measures

How to cook

Prepare the first dough by sifting the flour into a bowl. Make a well and pour the slightly warmed water, a spoonful of sugar and the finely crushed yeast. Beat the eggs and knead a soft dough. It is good to work with a dough kneading machine due to the fact that it becomes very sticky. Add a little flour if it is too thin to make it easier to knead, but do not overdo it - it should be soft. Cover it with a clean towel and leave it to rise in the heat for 1 hour and a half.

After one hour, start kneading the second dough. Sift the flour for it in another bowl and make a well. Activate the yeast in the milk with a little sugar until it foams up and pour it into the well.

Grate the citrus peels on the sugar with a fine grater, by grating only the yellow and orange parts, so that they release a liquid to moisten it. Put in the well and finish off with honey, vermouth and a pinch of salt.

Knead the sticky dough with the help of a machine or onto a floured surface with a dough spatula. It is difficult with this type of dough, but I assure you, the result is worth it.

Form a ball and leave it aside for 10 minutes.

Combine the two doughs and knead them on a floured surface for at least 10 minutes, by lightly greasing your hands, so that it doesn't stick too much.

Add the butter little by little - soft or slightly melted, while kneading at all times, without fear that it will start to stick even more. This is the procedure. Sprinkle flour if it is impossible for you and you have stuck to the dough. This is the hardest part, but if you can cope with it, you will begin to feel the elasticity between your fingers and it will be easier for you. Work like this for at least 7-8 minutes and then spread it out into a thick crust.

Cut the dried fruit and nuts into medium-sized pieces and pour them over the peel. Fold it and knead it gently again, so that everything can spread evenly throughout the dough. Form it into a ball and place in a baking pan with high walls (20 cm in diameter).

You can make high walls out of baking paper by cutting a circle with the diameter of the baking pan and then a strip at least 6.3″ (16 cm) high and 15.7″ (40 cm) long. Staple the two ends together, as duct tape or glue will not be suitable for the oven.

Leave to rise until it doubles in volume - it takes a long time due to the aggravating products. It needed 6 hours to rise in a warm place and some people leave it to rise all night.

Bake it for 30-35 minutes in a preheated oven at 320°F (160 degrees). Once the bread has cooled, lightly spread it with melted chocolate drops in a water bath.

For the glaze, mix the powdered sugar with the milk and pour it over the surface.

Sprinkle more nuts or fruit if you like and serve it at the Christmas table with a glass of champagne!

Enjoy!

Note: Usually, this bread is good to make in a narrower and taller form, there are also special packets for this purpose, but because they are difficult to find, I resorted to handmade ones. The same effect is not achieved, but at least to some extent.

It takes a lot of time and hard work to make the dough, but it's worth it!

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