Friday, December 11, 2015

Holiday Breads

One of the best treats of the holiday is a home baked bread or a tray of rolls.There are so many to choose from, from panettones to cinnamon rolls. They're a bit more work than the average bread or Christmas bake but so worth the work. They provide a tasty breakfast when opening presents or a nice snack before bedtime,

Panettone is one of Northern Italy's greatest holiday gifts. It is a yeast bread that will take forty-five minutes to completely bake,The traditional ones have a healthy mix of raisins and citron but you can also add cut dried apricots , pineapple and cranberries. Some home bakers add dark chocolate chips too for more flavor.Another favorite is the Veronese bread pan d'oro or golden bread.. It's egg and butter rich , and like it's fancier  cousin they need starters. This is similar to sourdough stater and can be either liquid or powder. Pan d'oro requires three different kinds of dough along with cocoa butter to give the crumb airiness.It's a very eggy one, requiring five large eggs to give it that rich, golden also requires overnight proofing and special molds to give it that "tall star" look. An easier recipe is pan dolce. It's a simpler version of panettone but there's also a dash of Sherry added along with anise and orange flower water., Like fruit breads, raisins and currents are added , but also pistachios and pine nuts for added savoriness and crunch,Across the Alps comes stollen, the German holiday bread.It's a yeast bread that uses honey instead of sugar. Raisins and citron are added after they're soaked in rum..Almonds and mace spice the dough while the filling has more spice in the form of cinnamon, sugar and butter.Again it's a dough that has to be proofed but only for a scant thirty minutes this time.

Holiday rolls and buns are always fun. Nothing beats waking up to a batch of hot, gooey cinnamon rolls. Many home bakers balk at the idea of making them from scratch but they're not as labor intensive as many think they are,It's still a yeast recipe that requires proofing. Butter and egg are added to a simple yeast dough for richness. The filling is cinnamon (I'd recommend buying Cinnabon's Makara cinnamon for this) .The icing too is easy/ Its a simple milk and powdered sugar one that can have the addition of butter or even coffee to vary the flavor.The Swedes welcome in the holidays with Saint Lucy 's Day and flavorful saffron buns.Despite the savory spice the buns are sweet,  thanks to the addition of currents or raisins.. They're known as lussebulle, and are baked in the traditional S shape. This is a bit of a labor intensive recipe for novice bakers but it still can be done to produce yummy tea rolls. The milk and saffron have to be cooked together first and then the yeast is added to it.Cardimon seeds are also used for more spice. The dough may be a bit dense thanks to the addition of  sour cream or  quark.(a Northern European version of cottage cheese). A simpler bun recipe is the British Chelsea bun, made similar to a cinnamon bun but with a filling of currents , raisins or apricots . They're sort of like the Pennsylvania Dutch sticky bun, much beloved in South Jersey (strange , I know but the recipe is popular in Atlantic and Cape May Counties)The Chelsea bun dough only takes an hour to rise  and then it's kneaded again and then baked. A simple glaze is then poured over the buns.

Holiday breads and rolls are not only fun to eat but a fun challenge to bake. The result is a yeasty, sweet treat, perfect for the holidays. Slather on a big gob of butter and enjoy.

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