Holiday Bread

Holiday bread! Many years ago, it seems almost in another lifetime, I received a small book whose title was the Tassajara Bread Book. Well, my memories of childhood include those of my mom’s fresh, home baked bread which, straight out of the oven, slathered with butter, I enjoyed more than any store-bought bread. With my new cookbook, at the advanced age of thirty, I was off on a journey which I’m still following in my chuckwagon biscuit research and sourdough bread baking “experiments.” Though I have either lost or loaned that stained, dough-crusted, dogeared little book long since, I still remember with fondness the “the sponge method” and the holiday fruit bread!

Loaf of sourdough bread on a wood cutting board with a bread knife

Ingredients: 4 cups of flour, 3 tbsp sugar, 1tsp salt, 3 tsp yeast ( rapid rise, which we call “rabbit rise”) 1 ¼ cups warm water ( like a warm shower), 2 eggs, beaten, 2 tbsp olive oil.

Cinnamon, raisins, sugar, candied cherries, citro, candied orange peel, pecans and almonds, two or three tablespoons each. Or any other favorites.

Put the fruit and nuts in a bowl and add 2 teaspoons of flour, a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon and mix them together to coat the fruit and nuts.

Put all dry ingredients in a bowl and blend them with a wooden spoon. Then pour in eggs, water and oil, fold them in and knead for at least 10 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes. Finally, fold in the fruit and nuts. Knead lightly again and seal the loaf. Put in a loaf pan to rise. When puffed up to twice the original size, put in the oven at 400 Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned. The cooking thermometer inserted into the loaf should read higher than 195. Take the loaf out of the oven and let it cool. You may want to glaze it by mixing 4 tbsp milk, heated on the stove, with a cup of confectioner’s sugar!

Joyeaux noel, y’all

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