Hope all of you are done with your holiday shopping and started preparing for the big day, which is only 1 week away now. I finally ordered almost all of the kids gifts yesterday — it is fun to shop online. I don’t think I fair well at going shopping especially at this time of the year when the malls and roads are crowded. I prefer the peace of home 🙂 Now I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the gifts are shipped out on time and the mailman does not leave the package in the neighbor’s house (has happened way too many times that I keep looking at the neighbors door every time I go out to check the mail). It is definitely the most stressful time of the year 🙂
What’s not stressful is this beautiful holiday bread that is easy to make and sure to impress. The dough is very easy to work with and once you get a grip on making a dough braid, you are on your way to making this show stopper bread.
Recipe is from Vegetarian Times magazine from few years back. This was one of the winners in the Holiday cooking contest. The winner adapted her Czech grandmother’s recipe. The addition of raisins, almonds and lemon zest give the bread holiday flavor. The texture is almost like challah bread and I think this would be a great one to make fresh toast or bread pudding. I used egg replacer powder instead of eggs but that didn’t effect the texture or the taste.
2tbspEgg waterreplacer - whisked in 6tbsp (or use 2 large eggs)
½cupAlmondsChopped or Slivered
1tbspegg soy milk agave syrupVegan wash substitute - mixed with 1tsp (or use 1 yolk whisked with 1tbsp water)
Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water and set aside.
Beat butter and sugar in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until smooth.
Blend in the egg replacer mixture (or eggs), salt, nutmeg and lemon zest.
Add the flour(s) and yeast mixture to the butter mixture and mix until a smooth and elastic dough forms. Add more flour to make sure that the dough is not sticky.
Shape the dough into a ball, cover and let rise for 1 hour.
Knead raisins and almonds into the dough. Divide into 2 equal halves. Cover one half and work on the other half.
Divide the half into 6 equal pieces. Roll 3 dough pieces into ½" thick ropes. Braid together on floured work surface, pinching together braid at both ends. Repeat with the same with the 3 remaining pieces. At this point -- you will have 2 braids. Place one braid on top of the other -- to make a double stacked loaf. Cover with towel and let rise for 1 hour.
Repeat the same process with the other half that is kept on the side.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush the loaves with the egg (replacer) wash.
Bake for 40~50 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm, dusted with powdered sugar.