Friday, December 24, 2010

Saffron & Candied Orange Bread

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Instead of cakes or sugared cookies, I actually enjoy making (and eating) special bread more during the Christmas' season. Since home-made bread usually is very low in fat, it also can't store that long. The best way is, freeze some for futher consumption. Just sprinkle little water on the bread, bake in a medium hot oven for a few minutes, it turns out as good as fresh baked.

Saffron-n-candied orange bread sounds beautiful, so as the taste too. I found this recipe at all.recipe.com whose reviews are mostly very positive. Since the original US recipe yields a lot of bread, and the yeast packs sold in Spain weights differently, so I went to scale it down, but still, my recipe makes enough bread for giving some away to my friends.
As much as I like the spices used in the recipe, I'd love it mellowing the flavor into the dough, so I let the dough ferment for a longer time. The result? Be prepared to be thrilled by your friends' and families' compliments :) :)

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Recipe of Saffron & Candied Orange Bread

courtesy recipe GODGIFU 'English Saffron Bread' published at all.recipe.com

(yield 8 candy-cane-shaped loaves, each 1-foot-long, one loaf good enough for 2 persons)

  • 1 tsp saffron strands (not powder)
  • 100 ml very hot water
  • 210 ml whole milk (approx only, adjust the amount according to the wetness of the dough)
  • 85 g butter
  • 100 g sugar
  • 11 g dry yeast
  • 720 g flour (the one for bread)
  • 2 Tbps candied orange, finely diced
  • 2 eggs (but reserve half an egg for egg wash)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • some sugared cherry for decoration

Directions:

  1. Soak the saffron strands in very hot water for 10 minutes. Discard the flower but reserve the liquid.
  2. Slightly warm the milk together with sugar and butter. Once the butter almost dissolves, remove the pot from the heat.
  3. In a very large mixing bowl, combine the flour, dry yeast, candied orange, salt and cinnamon. Stir in 1 1/2 eggs, saffron water and milk mixture (make sure all the liquid is lukewarm) until a dough is formed. Knead the dough until it appears smooth and elastic. The dough should feel slightly wet, but not sticky. Grease a large bowl, place the dough in, cover with a plastic wrap. Proof the dough overnigh in the lowest shelf of the fridge.
  4. Next day, take the dough out and knead a few minutes (to release the air and re-distribute the air bubbles).... In the following shaping process, please give many resting times in between, and cover the doughs with a wet towel while resting... First, line two large baking pans with baking paper. Divide the dough into 16 portions. Shape each into a 45 - 50 cm long strand. Take two strands, wet their both ends with little water and stick them together, then start twisting and shaping into a candy cane. Lay the cane on a baking pan, place a few sliced sugared cherry on top of the bread. Repeat to the rest of the dough. Cover the doughs with slight wet towel, let proof in a 25 - 27C room temperature for about 45 minutes or until the dough looks puffy.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 175 - 180 C. Egg wash (dilute the half egg with 1 o 2 teaspoons water) the dough. Check the canes' shape, you might need to insert an aluminum "guard" (from folding up a small piece of aluminum foil) in the curve to keep a better shape. Bake one tray at a time for 15 minutes. Loosely cover with aluminum foil if the bread turns brown to quick.
  6. The bread goes very well with European-style ham or fresh cheese. For a sweet version, simply dust some powered sugar on.

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3 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those must be fragrant!

Happy holidays!

Cheers,

Rosa

Esther said...

Merry Christmas! The candy cane shaped bread look perfect. It was very creative of you to also hang them on the Christmas tree.

Aparna said...

I know those flavours mean some very great tasting bread. And looks so pretty as you have shaped it. Perfect for Christmas, and great thing to decorate with. :)

Season's greetings and best wishes for a very happy new year.