Friday, November 21, 2008

Glenda's Christmas Bread 1st Time

I wanted to create a nice bread for Christmas time with the colors red and green. What food could I use to get the colors I wanted? I knew I wanted the shape of a tree. I was going to do cranberries, but didn't know if I could get the bread red enough and I didn’t want the seeds. I was watching the 'Martha' show and there they had the pomegranates. I love pomegranates; my Aunt Mary had trees in her front yard in California. When I was a little girl we would go and visit and pick and eat them to our heart desire, yes we stain our clothes, but ooooh they were so good! So, I knew the red I wanted, now for the green. I wanted it to look like pine needles, so I thought of zucchini. Why not, there is good zucchini bread out there, why couldn't I make my version of yeast bread. I knew I didn’t want raisins, think, think….
Ok, so now I have my colors, what other ingredients do I want? I went to the store for some ideas: I bought one pomegranate, one zucchini and a small package of dried cranberries, enough to make 1 cup. Came home and juiced the pomegranate and let it set over night. They are light in color when you first juice them and darker over night, something I didn’t know, it also separated into 2 shades of pink or red. Today I got my starter out and fed it, so that by noon it would be ready. Alright here goes. You really need 2 pomegranates to get 1 cup of juice. So, what I did was to add water to make the cup with ½ teaspoon of red food coloring, which I said I wouldn’t do, but did. Next time I will buy the Pom® brand of juice and then I won’t need to juice. The bread came out nicely and tasted super good!

The recipe :
Glenda’s Christmas Bread
Sprinkle these two ingredients in a large bowl and let proof for 5 minutes:
1 package of yeast
¼ cup warm water (105˚)
Slowly start adding the following ingredients and stir as you go:
1 ½ cups sourdough starter
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup butter, melted and cooled
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Pom brand pomegranate juice

1 cup whole-wheat flour
Now start adding the flour:
5-6 cups bread flour
Keep stirring until it starts to form the dough and is smooth then add:
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup dried cranberries
Pour this out from bowl onto flour dusted counter top or table and knead for about 5 minutes, adding a little flour at a time until the dough is not sticky to the touch.
Grease a large bowl with a little oil and put the dough into this bowl. Cover and let rise about 1-1 /2 hours, free from drafts.
Take dough out of bowl onto lightly flour dusted counter top or table and start to form the dough into the shape you want, a tree*, a wreath or can put into 2 large greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise about 1 hour.
Bake in preheated oven, 350˚ for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and surface springs back when touched with your fingers.
Makes 2 loaves.

*The instructions I use to shape the tree:
Take one-quarter of dough and form the trunk, about 1 inch thick and 10 inces long, tapering it broader at the base. Place on a 12 by 18 inch baking sheet with parchment paper. With the side of your hand, press a dent about 2 ½ inches up from the base to indicate beginning of branches.
Divide the remainder of the dough in quarters. Roll one-quarter of dough between your floured hands to make a 1-inch-thick roll about 15 inches long. (If you roll all the dough at once, it may break.) Starting at the top of the tree, twist figure “8’s” down one side of trunk. Roll out another quarter of the dough, as you need it, into a 1-inch-thick roll. Repeat, using the other half of dough to make figure “8’s” on the opposite side of tree. Cross the ends of the dough over the dent in the trunk.

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