This is the December 2016 Challenge from Jane Mason's Perfecting Sourdough book, the recipe is on page 144.. I love to bake at Christmas: most years I bake Christmas Cakes and other treats. This year in our New Home, we have both been busy unpacking and getting to grips with urgent DIY etc. I was to have bought a small Christmas Cake from the Country Market, but it closed before I got there!
Most years I buy a Panforte, and I could tell that I had, for many years, been meaning to make my own, by the date on the unopened rice paper in the drawer! So a home made Panforte is taking the place of Christmas cake this year. A small slice with a glass of Port is a fitting finish for a special meal.
One of our favourite eats for Christmas Breakfast is a Panettone. One year I even devised a recipe for Panettone based on Pumpkin. We do love this tradition, so I may well bake one for the New Year. I rather like the one with Pumpkin and will use butternut squash this time.
This year we shall have the sourdough Austrian Christmas Bread. I set this as a December Baking Challenge on our Facebook Page. With ground almonds, sugar, butter, anise seeds, and fruit, I am expecting some delicious slices with a large cup of coffee, on Christmas Day morning. I used up the last of my own home made crystallized orange and lemon peel. This has been so successful that I am thinking of making another batch after Christmas. It was quick and easy using the Pressure Cooker, and there are some very good citrus fruit around for Christmas.
I left the sourdough overnight with its first refreshment and got kneading this morning. By the time I had got back from shopping, it was ready to have the fruit folded in and be shaped ready for its last rise.
Before it went into the oven, as per the recipe I brushed it with melted butter before slashing it, but it did not have the glossy finish of the loaf in the book...
I'm happy with the rise, and its beginning to smell a lot like Christmas!