17-47: Italian Fruit Bread

Get ready for another big batch of baked goods–it’s time for this year’s adventure (XMAS 16) into holiday baking (aka everyone’s presents for Christmas this year). Last year I made 6 Simply Delicious recipes as gifts, and this year came out to a total of 7. 🎅 I’m going to attempt to cover them in the order they were made, and the first recipe of the batch was 17-47: Italian Fruit Bread. 🇮🇹

This recipe seems similar to a panettone, although not as sweet or flaky and shaped differently. Despite the variations, I still thought it made a nice Christmas gift, especially only just including a few slices in each gift bag. 🎁

I ended up multiplying this recipe by 4, which gave me WAY too much bread. My scaling on all the other recipes I made for this year’s gifts worked out fine, but I went way over on this one. I found willing takers for it, but I think I would have been okay with only doubling it. 🍞

Ingredients. I ended up not even using the apricots and only going with the leftover mixed fruit from Thanksgiving’s 16-52: Apple Nut Saucepan Torte. I threw in some extra regular and golden raisins that I had, but I think it probably could have used a bit more fruit–this bread benefits from being full of sweet bits.

Dissolving the yeast–bubbles are a positive sign, that means the yeast is still good.

I got my Christmas gift a bit early this year–a new food processor. I’ve been wanting to replace my 30+ year old one for a long time now, and a recent sale on Amazon (don’t worry, it’s not one of the recalled ones) finally made it a reality. This recipe was its maiden voyage–here it’s chopping up some pecans (replacing pine nuts) for the bread dough.

Mixing the processed walnuts into the dough mixture. I admit, I over-processed them a bit, but it takes a bit to get used to a new machine.

Reserve flour on the side for adding into the dough once mixed–they always seem to need a bit more flour than suggested. Rosemary was picked from my mom’s garden and dried on my balcony this past summer. ☀

Dough’s been mixed, now it’s time to let it rise. Note the line on the inside of the bowl where the dough comes up to in this picture…

…and how you can’t even see any semblance of that line in this picture, after it rose. What a difference NEW yeast makes (and not storing it in a jar above the toaster oven–lesson learned).

Chopped the big dough up into 8 smaller ones (remember, I multiplied this recipe by 4).

Here’s where I rise/proof my dough at home–on top of the fridge. No drafts, relatively warm, and safe from wandering pets.

Haven’t picked up a bread lame yet to slash the tops of my loaves, but this curved paring knife works okay too.

The first round of loaves–not perfect, but they have a certain rustic charm. I put beach towels over my wooden buffet table to protect it from the heat/moisture of the various rounds of baked goods cooling on top over the week.

After slicing into one of the loaves. Has a great scent of rosemary, and as you can see, not a lot of fruit. I put 4 slices (about 1/2″ thick each) into a small plastic bag for each person, and gave my one vegan recipient two large uncut sections of loaf, since there weren’t too many other goodies suitable for them. I did make a special vegan-adapted batch of 17-41: Molasses Oatmeal Bread for them though–it worked out really well, as did this bread. Not the most exciting goodie in the batch, but festive all the same. 🎄

Grade: B+

🎅🏼 Interested in the full list of Simply Delicious treats we made for 2016’s holiday baking extravaganza? (XMAS 16) 🎄

How about another year’s Simply Delicious holiday bake-off?  XMAS 15