Putting it together - What you need
|The Food Table||
Italian Christmas bread immediately follows or sometimes accompanies the opening of presents on Christmas morning. Italian Christmas bread, braided, sweet, golden bodied, dotted with raisins and sometimes with red, yellow and green citron, crowned with white glaze, cherries and colored sprinkles surpasses almost any other breakfast pastry. Slathered with butter, toasted or eaten plain it is a joy to the world. Italian Christmas bread, something between a lusty challah and a delicate brioche, shares in the common heritage of ethnic home-made baking delights.
Most people, when they think of Italian Christmas bread, think immediately of “Panettone.” While panettone has a long history in Northern Italy, the panettone we know commercially, is rather recent. It was created in 1919 in Milan and popularized by the Motta baking company. Home-made Italian Christmas bread is something quite different. The version here at The Food Table, is from my brother, Richard. This bread is of far more ancient ancestry and can be traced to the Middle Ages and earlier. Italian Christmas bread is not a difficult recipe, but it does take time and requires several steps.
For more Italian American Christmas recipes see:
Heavy duty mixer (or by hand)
For the dough Egg Glaze
3 to 3 1/2 cups flour 1 egg yolk whisked with
1 package active dry yeast some milk.
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup warm milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter,melted Sugar Glaze
1 egg 1/2 cup confestioner's sugar
pinch of salt tablespoon of milk
additions to the dough
zest of one lemon or orange
handful of each
citron (traditional but so common these days)
Dissolve the yeast with a few pinched of sugar in warm water. Let it sit until it begins to bubble.
Melt the butter in the microwave.Whisk the butter, egg the warm milk and add to the yeast water.
Sugar and Flour
Add the sugar and flour.
Knead with a dough hook.
Adjust the quantity of flour as needed.
Set the bread on a baking pan.
Glaze the top with the egg and milk wash.
Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.
Check for golden color.
The bread should be a shining golden brown.
When the bread has cooled coat the bread with the confectioner's sugar glaze.
Decorate with Mareschino cherries and colored sprinkles.