Nothing like the relaxing run-up to the holidays, is there?
Nope, not done; not even started.
Nope, not done; although I have thought about it.
Nope, not done; not going to be done.
Christmas post; something excessively witty and entertaining.
At least I managed to get some baking done – some festive holiday bread.
And a good thing, too, as I am the host kitchen for the illustrious Bread Baking Babes this month.
First, let me congratulate one of our Babes for producing something other than bread….. (Some people just have to be different.)
Sara, of I Like to Cook, has convinced the Babes (quite easily, I might add) that not only should we add a Babe to our group, it should be a male Babe….. There's a picture of him lounging in bed in a, ahem, natural state, on her blog.
Back to the bread…..
When I was unpacking my cook books a few weeks ago, after having them all in boxes for well over a year, I, naturally, spent rather too much time looking at them all.
Old friends, and all that.
I ran across this one:
There's no date in it, but, as the first line of instruction for the bread we made was:
1. Be immaculately clean — hair combed, dress and apron clean, hands and nails scrubbed.
I think it might be an old book. No mention of hand sanitizers anywhere.
I wanted to do a holiday bread in December…. And I really wanted to do something from this little book that I've had since I was a child.
Viennese Striesel it is.
According to the book, this is made with a basic sweet dough that can be used 'for many wonderful breads'.
Basic Sweet Dough
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup very warm water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbs shortening, melted (I used butter)
2 3/4 – 3 cups flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water
Scald milk. Put milk, sugar, shortening, salt in bowl of mixer. Cool until just warm. Stir in 1 cup of flour. Mix in dissolved yeast.
Whisk egg and add to dough. Add remaining flour and knead until smooth and satiny.
I used my stand mixer and dough hook up to this point, the dough was still sticky. I added about 1/4 more flour, kneading by hand.
1 recipe Basic Sweet Dough
1/4 cup seedless raisins
1/4 cup candied cherries, chopped
2 tbs candied orange peel, chopped
1/8 tsp mace
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tbs milk
almonds or walnuts for sprinkling
Add fruit and mace to basic dough before the last cup of flour. Mix in well. Add remaining flour and finish kneading until smooth.
Shape into a ball, place in lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 2 1/4 hours.
Punch down. Divide into 9 pieces, shape each into a ball and let rest 5 minutes.
Roll each piece into a rope about 15" long. Lay 4 strands on a lightly greased baking sheet, overlapping at the center. Braid from the center toward each end. With the side of your hand make a trench down the center. Now braid 3 strands, also from the center to each end, and place in the 'trench'. Twist the 2 remaining strands loosely together and place on top, bringing the ends over the end of the loaf and tucking in.
Cover loosely and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Bake, 350F (175C) for 40 – 45 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
Mix milk and sugar. When bread is cool, drizzle frosting over the top. Sprinkle with nuts.
Pour a nice cup of tea and visit all the Babes to admire their Striesel:
Check out the other Babe's Brioche:
The Bread Baking Babes
Bake My Day – Karen
Canela and Comino – Gretchen
Cookie Baker Lynn – Lynn
Grain Doe – Gorel
I Like To Cook – Sara
Living in the Kitchen with Puppies – Natashya
Living on bread and water – Monique
Lucullian Delights – Ilva
My Kitchen In Half Cups – Tanna
Notitie Van Lien – Lien
The Sour Dough – Breadchick Mary
If you would like to join us as a Bread Baking Buddy this month, either leave a comment or send an email and I will send you the Buddy Badge. I will do the Buddy recap on December 21st.
Tight schedule, I know, but 'tis the season and all that. Besides, you want to make this bread soon so you can enjoy it while you relax from all the hustle and bustle.
Now the confession…. I had to look up on the internet to figure out how to braid with 4 strands….
I can do a French braid in my hair in under 3 seconds, but I had to look this up.
Must be 'holiday syndrome' – you know, brain on holiday…..