My gift to you this year for Christmas are the countless delicious Christmas Food Recipes. Even if you are not celebrating Christmas you will have a hard time resisting all the eye candy! For today’s day I have reserved the famous and traditional Christmas Fruit bread recipe for you. This particular Christmas bread is better known as Kletzenbrot in German. Kletzen is the Austrian/Bavarian/South Tyrol (South Tyrol is North Italy nowadays) word for dried Pears and Brot is the common German word for bread.
The Kletzenbrot is definitely the most famous sweet fruit and nut bread in my alpine region Tyrol back in Austria Europe. There are many other kinds of fruit and nut breads but my grandmother would mostly always make the Kletzenbrot during Christmas time. She would make an enormous batch of Kletzenbrot, bake it in her oldern time fire oven and store it in a very cold and dry place for months after that. Her Kletzenbrot was hard as stone, no kidding!
My grandmother was a hard working all rounder and baking was just one of the many jobs in her farmer’s life. So besides milking the cows at 5 am and building a cycle from scrap, she would also spin threads from the sheeps at home, knit thick socks, which by the way I am still using, and also do basic chores such as washing clothes by hand. She was a hard from scratch working lady who didn’t rest even when she was dying. Maybe her Kletzenbrot was not perfectly soft, but at least she did it from scratch with organic products.
My father of course didn’t mind a hard Kletzenbrot, in fact he has been eating his mother’s bread since ever and therefore he enjoys the hard fruit bread more then the soft version which my mother makes. I personaly prefer of course a soft version and that’s why unfortunately I couldn’t use my grandmother’s old recipe. My mum has no clue what she puts into hers, she says: ” Do it au pif!” (from french translated as random, anyhow) but I need exact measurements! So, I decided to just play around and see how it comes and after a while I finaly got the result I was looking for.
Actually my recipe is not a full traditional Kletzenbrot recipe from Tyrol, Austria. In fact I used plain white all purpose flour instead of the commonly used rye flour. We don’t get this dark rye flour in India and I can imagine others in this world would have a hard time finding this ingredient, so I decided to just use what everybody else can buy. It’s not a sacrilege to use white flour since I have seen folks making the Kletzenbrot at times like this. Oh and I modified the traditional recipe in one more way. You see the Kletzenbrot is a dough with way more fruits and nuts then dough itself. Traditionally one would first make that fruit and nut dough and wrap that one into a plain dough. I have left that out because I always forget to do that and I like to simplify things.
When you look at the ingredients don’t be shocked by the amount of dried fruits and nuts vs the amount of flour in the recipe, that’s how it’s meant to be! For the filling I have used dried fruits such as raisins (or sultanas), dates, pears (of course!), prunes and candied fruits such as Orange and lemon rind and nuts such as hazelnut and almonds. I also spiced the Kletzenbrot filling with Cinnamon and Clove and I have added some Rum and milk as well before leaving the mixture to rest over night. You could leave out the dark rum, I wouldn’t.
To store the Kletzenbrot either wrap it in a damp cloth and keep in the fridge for max. 3 weeks. Usually we make big batches of this particular Christmas bread and either give some away to family and friends or cut the loafs in half, wrap into cling film and store in the deep freezer, so that we can take them out anytime, defrost and enjoy them the rest of the year. Normally of course the Kletzenbrot is devoured in days so our last loafs in the freezer get over by Easter. This fruit bread makes a great homemade Christmas gift which everybody enjoys!
- 500 gram white/all purpose flour (Maida in India)
- 1 Packet dried yeast (~9 grams)
- ¼ Tablespoon Salt
- 250 milliliter luke warm Milk
- 2 Tablespoon Butter
- 250 grams dried Pears (Kletzen)
- 200 grams dried Dates
- 230 grams pitted Prunes
- 100 grams Raisins or Sultanas
- 50 grams Orange Candy (also known as Orangeat/Aranzini)
- 50 grams Lemon Candy (also known as Zitronat)
- 200 grams whole Hazelnuts
- 100 grams Almonds
- 100 grams powdered Sugar
- 4 Tablespoon Rum
- 100 milliliter Milk
- 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon powder
- 1 Teaspoon Clove powder
- 2 beaten Egg yolks
- A day before you intend to bake the Kletzenbrot, prepare the filling. First keep a pot with water to boil and throw in the dried pears and dates for 15 minutes or until the fruits are soft. Take out and drain. Cut the pears and dates into bite size pieces and keep in a big bowl.
- Also cut the dates small and add to the big bowl together with the raisins, orange candy, lemon candy, whole hazelnuts, whole almonds, powdered sugar, rum, Milk, cinnamon powder and clove powder. Mix the whole content well and let rest for a day in the fridge. Stir the whole content every few hours.
- The next day prepare the dough by combining the flour, yeast and salt first. Make a well in the center and add the luke warm milk and melted butter.
- Mix the content and work out to a smooth middle hard dough. Make a ball, dust with flour and keep in a warm place to rise. The rising of the dough should take about 1 hour, I kept mine for 2 hours. Do the test if it has risen by poking int the dough with your finger, the dough should be lighter and soft. Also big cracks appearing is a good sign that it's ready.
- Take the dough to a working surface and work out for a few minutes. Now either half the dough and work with one half first or take it all, just as I did it, and roll out as good as possible. If you rolled out half add only half of the filling into the dough, if you rolled out the whole dough add all the filling into the center of the dough.
- With your hands fold in all around and now comes the sticky part where you need to work the fruits and nuts into the flour dough. A good tip, use extra flour to help you at this point.
- I used the whole dough and cut it into quarters (each around ½ kg heavy), formed into loafs ad let them stand for another ½ to one hour to rise before baking. Little cracks should appear on the risen loafs.
- Preheat your oven to 160 Celsius!
- Poke with a fork into the loaf and brush beaten egg yolks onto the bread surface.
- Bake at 160 Celsius for about 50 minutes.
- Keep to cool and store as mentioned in the article above.
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