Christmas Fruit Bread Wreath. A sweet bread dough braid and formed into a Christmas wreath. The perfect centrepiece for a Christmas Brunch.
One of my holiday traditions is a wonderfully sweet-smelling traditional Christmas Fruit Bread wreath. I have been making it for years and it is very similar to the one that I so enjoyed as a child, usually as a loaf.
Back then we made it in loaf pans and I mostly remember devouring it as thick slices of toast with great gobs of melting butter. Today we enjoy it as a braided wreath, fresh from the oven at Christmas brunch. The leftovers make a great base for a Christmas Bread Pudding.
Originally published on December 23, 2009.
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- 6 cups to 7 flour
- 2 packages instant yeast
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup melted butter
- 2 cups warm milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ cups mixed dried fruit/peel
Combine 3 cups of the flour along with the sugar, instant yeast and salt in a large bowl or in the bowl of a large electric mixer that uses a dough hook.
Add the melted butter, warm milk, eggs and vanilla extract.
Using a wooden spoon or the regular paddle of your electric mixer beat for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is smooth with no lumps.
If using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook at this point and begin to slowly incorporate the remaining flour. If not using an electric mixer keep mixing in the flour gradually until a soft dough forms that leaves the sides of the bowl. You may need to use a little less or a little more flour than indicated in the recipe, this is not uncommon.
Knead the dough for an additional 10 minutes either in the electric mixer or on a floured bread board or countertop.Cover dough and leave to rest and rise for only 15 minutes.
Punch the dough down and knead in the mixed fruit by hand for a few minutes.
Divide dough in 3 equal portions and roll the dough into 3 equally long strands about 18 inches or longer.
Braid the strands together and form into a circle, tucking one end of the dough under the other and pinching the ends together.
Place the wreath onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover with a clean tea towel and let rise until about triple in size, about 2 hours. ( at this stage you can brush it with egg wash to help it brown if you like. Whisk together 1 egg and 1 tbsp water to make the egg wash, it isn't necessary to use it all. )
Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 25 -30 minutes or until golden brown.
This recipe will make about 3 small loaves of Fruit Bread if you choose not to make it as a braided wreath. Recipe time does not include rising time.
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