This traditional German Christmas bread has a dense crumb studded with spices, dried fruit, and candied ginger.
Adapted from David Lebovitz
- Yield:4 loaves
- Active time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Total time:2 days, 7 hours
- 2/3 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 3 1/2 cups flour, divided
- 1/2 cup rye flour
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger, divided
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and divided
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar (optional)
Place raisins, cherries, and cranberries in a small bowl. Add orange juice. In a separate small bowl, combine almonds and water. Let both bowls rest, stirring occasionally, one hour or overnight.
Place yeast and warm milk in a medium bowl, stirring to combine. Add 1 cup flour and stir to incorporate. Let yeasted starter rest in a warm place for one hour.
In a large bowl, combine remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, rye flour, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest.
Add vanilla extract, 1 cup melted butter, honey and egg yolk and beat to combine.
Add yeasted starter in three additions and beat until fully incorporated and dough has become smooth, about 4 minutes. Stir in cranberries, cherries, raisins, candied ginger and almonds. Knead dough for one minute.
Cover dough with a kitchen towel and let rest in a warm place for 1 hour.
Knead dough for one minute, then cover and let rest for 1 hour.
Take out an insulated baking sheet, or use two baking sheets stacked on top of each other. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.
Form dough into four equal oval-shaped loaves and place on baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake loaves until dark brown, about 45 minutes.
Mix together 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon dried ginger. When loaves have come out of the oven, brush them with remaining 3/4 cup melted butter, letting butter sink in between additions. Sprinkle them evenly with sugar-ginger mixture, then gently rub in. If desired, when loaves are cool, rub all over with powdered sugar.
Place loaves in plastic bags or plastic wrap and let sit for 2 days.