You could say that I am biased because I grew up in Eastern Europe, but I do think that this is one of the tastiest Christmas breads out there.
It might not have the texture of Italian panettone or the complex flavour of German stollen. But it does make up for it with the simplicity of using basic ingredients and getting the most out of them. Butter, cinnamon and vanilla in the dough give it a nice softness and mild fragrance. The filling made of apples, pears, prunes, and apricots is a combination that works so well.
Make sure to let it rise well before baking. This bread is weighed down by the filling, so leaving it to ferment for a sufficient amount of times is extremely important. If it is not rising, perhaps because you kitchen is cooler, then leave it for another 30 – 60 minutes. You do not want to suffer through the disappointment of a dense loaf, trust me!
Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.
For the dough –
300g (10.5oz) strong white bread flour
2 egg yolks *cold from the fridge
50g (1.75oz) soft butter
6g (0.2oz) salt
3g (0.1oz) dry yeast or 3x the amount of fresh yeast
40g (1.4oz) sugar
2g (0.07oz) cinnamon
2g (0.07oz) vanilla paste or syrup
140g (5oz) milk at 8C (46F) if your kitchen is between 22-24C (71-75F)
To learn more about dough temperature control click here.
For the filling –
1 large apple, diced
40g (1.4oz) chopped dried prunes
40g (1.4oz) chopped dried pears
40g (1.4oz) chopped dried apricots
30g (1oz) sugar
20g (0.7oz) butter
For the glaze –
150g (5.3oz) icing sugar
2 lemons worth of juice
Couple of drops of vanilla syrup for flavour
- Combine all the filling ingredients in a small pan & cook on medium heat until thick – around 10 – 15 minutes. Set it aside to cool down completely.
- In a bowl combine the milk, yeast, salt, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla & egg yolks. Mix to dissolve the sugar and hydrate the yeast.
- Add the flour and mix to a dough.
- Knead for 3 minutes. Tear in the butter and knead for another 3 – 4 minutes. Desired dough temperature 26-27C (79-80F).
- Cover and proof for 1 hour.
- Cover and proof for 1 more hour.
- Roll the dough out to a large rectangle. Spread the filling all over leaving an edge. Roll it up, brush the edge with water and seal it. Shape. See video!
- Place on a parchment paper covered tray, cover and ferment for 1.5 – 2 hours. During the final hour of fermentation preheat your oven to 160C (320F) fan on. Make sure the loaf has puffed up well before baking. If you must leave it for longer, then do so.
- Bake for 50 minutes. Or until internal temperature reads above 94C (200F).
- Make the glaze by adding a drop of vanilla to the icing sugar and then add the lemon juice and mix. Add a few drops of water if needed until you get a runny consistency. Mix until no lumps left.
- Place the loaf on a rack and spread the sugar glaze all over.
Let it cool down and enjoy!
Watch the video here