I decided to bake a couple of festive breads whilst bubs was asleep. They turned out very well and my family devoured them as soon as they got home from work and school - luckily I managed to take photos earlier in the day!
This bread would make a great centrepiece for a festive gathering, a delicious gift idea for teachers or an impressive addition to a festive hamper.
Festive Bread Wreath
225g white bread flour
1 1/2 tsp fast action yeast
25g softened butter
1 free range egg, beaten
90ml semi skimmed milk, lukewarm
50g butter, softened
25g ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
100g glace cherries, chopped
100g mixed dried fruit
Combine the bread ingredients in a bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until a soft dough forms. Knead for 10 minutes, either by hand or in a mixer, until dough is smooth and elastic. Put dough into a greased bowl, cover with greased cling film, and leave to prove until doubled in size.
To make the filling combine the butter, sugar and ground almonds to make a paste.
Once the dough has proved, don't bother knocking it back just roll it out to a rectangle approximately 30cm x 23cm (12 inches x 9 inches).
Spread the filling paste over the dough then sprinkle over the cherries and dried fruit. Roll the dough up tightly from the long edge and pinch the edge well to seal. Gently roll the dough into a sausage shape until it measures approximately 50cm (20 inches) in length.
Use a sharp knife to cut the dough sausage down the middle lengthwise. Turn the two pieces so the filling is facing upwards then plait the pieces together. Bend the plait into a circle and ensure the ends are weaved together to form a wreath shape.
Cover and prove until doubled in size once again. Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas Mark 6. Bake the wreath for 20 minutes. Once baked leave the wreath to cool on the tray for a few minutes then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.