This comes from one of my standbys, “The Festive Bread Book,” by Kathy Cutler. Whenever I get stuck and can’t figure out what to make for a special occasion, I seem to turn to this and the Ingram and Shapter book, “A Cook’s Guide to Bread.”
I have a friend who has decided that I am her go-to guy for special occasion breads, which delights me no end, since I get to bake some things I never would try. One of her children is getting married. The future in-laws are from Brazil. It was Easter. What could she do? She called BreadBusters. We talked a bit about things, I gave her some suggestions, and she decided on this lovely bread. I made it and they loved it. However, the Brazilians had never seen this in Brazil! No matter. It’s a great bread and isn’t difficult to make.
The colored egg might cause you some trouble. It bugged me, and I didn’t get it right. I talked with a great cook and baker I know (daughter) and she let me in on the secret. The uncooked egg has to sit in the coloring solution for at least 12 hours, even longer if you can manage it. (In the refrigerator, of course.) Other than that, it’s a prime example of an enriched bread with fruit and nuts.
Two things to consider. Use egg dye, not food coloring. The food coloring may not be permanent enough. Second, this bread may start to get dark quickly. It is an enriched dough, which means sugar and oil, baked at a fairly high temperature. Have some aluminum foil ready to make a tent with, especially at the ends of the loaf. If the bottom starts to get too dark, slide a cool baking sheet under the loaf. You could also bake at a lower temperature, say 375F / 190C, or even 350F / 175C, which is a pretty standard temperature for sweet or enriched breads.
|Dry Yeast||1/2 Tblsp||7.5 ml|
|Warm water||2 Tblsp||30 ml|
|Milk||1/2 cup||120 ml||Start with a bit more milk to make allowance for the residue in the sauce pan.|
|Butter||4 Tblsp||60 ml|
|Sugar||3 Tblsp||45 ml|
|Salt||1/4 tsp||1.25 ml||Is there such a metric measurement?|
|flour||14 ounces||400 grams|
|Ground Cinnamon||1/2 tsp||2.5 ml|
|Ground Allspice||1/4 tsp||1.25ml||See comment above|
|Grated Nutmeg||1/4 tsp||1.25 ml|
|Golden Raisins||1/4 cup||60ml|
|Chopped Brazil Nuts||1/4 cup||60 ml|
|Chopped Dried Apricots||1/4 cup||60 ml|
|Heavy cream or an egg glaze for brushing|
|Sugar for sprinkling|
1. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Set aside for 5 minutes. heat milk, butter, sugar and salt to warm, 105-115F / 40-45C.
2. Combine half the flour and all the cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, yeast mixture and milk mixture in a mixing bowl or in the bowl of a large mixer. Mix thoroughly. Mix the rest of the flour and the raisins, apricots and Brazil nuts in a separate bowl. Mix thoroughly.
3. Add egg and fruit mixture to bater. Mix thoroughly.
4. This should form a soft dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth, about 10 minutes, or for 8 minutes in a large mixer.
5. Place in a greased bowl, turning to coat the ball of dough completely.
6. Punch down the dough gently. Set aside a 2 1/2 inch / 6 cm ball of dough. Shape dough into a loaf and place in a 4 X 8 inch / 10 X 20 cm greased pan, or, as I did here, divide the dough into three parts and braid as for a challah. Cover and let rise until doubled,about 30 minutes.
7. Center a colored, uncooked egg on top of the loaf. Roll out the remaining dough into two short ropes and make a cross over the egg.
8. Brush with heavy cream or an egg glaze and sprinkle on some sugar. Bake in a preheated 400F / 205C oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until done; an internal temperature of 190-200F / 88-93C. Check after 20 minutes. If the top is getting too brown, cover with an aluminum cover. If the bottom is getting too brown, slide a cold cookie sheet under it.
9. Cool on a wire rack.
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