Sweet Flower Bread

Our Christmas cookies all disappeared pretty rapidly in December, so on Christmas Eve I made a sweet bread to go with our afternoon cup of tea – after all, the afternoon of Christmas Eve is traditionally a time for the festivities to begin here in Germany.

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It is easy to make and absolutely delicious!

Here is how I made it:

Sweet Flower Bread

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In a large bowl sieve together 300g (2 and 2/5 cups) strong flour, 100g (4/5 cup) plain flour, 100g (4/5 cup) wholemeal flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar and 1 packet instant dried yeast (2 tsps)

Stir in 325 ml (1 and 1/3 cups) lukewarm water and 2 tbsps olive oil and mix to form a ball.

Put on a floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Now place the dough in a clean bowl, and coat in a little oil. Cover with a tea towel and leave it in a warm place  to rise – a couple of hours should be long enough.

While the dough is rising you can make the filling. I used 200g (7 oz or 1 and 1/3 cups) finely chopped mixed nuts, 50g (1/4 cup) golden caster sugar and 50g (1/4 cup) brown sugar, 75g (2/3 stick) margarine (or butter), the zest of an orange, a few glace cherries cut into small pieces, and some spices – 1tsp cardamom, 1tsp cinnamon and 1tsp allspice. But you can add chocolate chips or omit the spices, whatever you fancy! Mix the ingredients together so you have a thick paste.

When the dough has risen, punch it to remove the excess air (my favourite part!) and divide into three portions. Now is the also time to preheat your oven to 225° C/425°F. Roll out each piece of dough into a circle about 35cm/14in in diameter. One circle will be your base, so place the other two to one side and cover them for now. The base needs to be placed on a sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking tray. Now spread it with half of your filling. Put the second circle of dough on top and press down lightly. Spread the rest of the filling on top. Finally place the third disc on top and press down lightly.

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To make the flower pattern place a dish or large cup (about 10cm/4in diameter) in the centre but do not press it down! From the dish outwards you now slice the bread into 16 pieces, just as you would cut up a normal cake but obviously without the middle. Remove the dish.

Take two pieces/’slices’ in your hands and lift slightly. Twist the right-hand piece over to the right, TWICE, and the left-hand piece to the left, TWICE. It is easiest to do this with both hands at the same time. Then tuck the ends underneath to tidy it up a bit. Repeat with the other pieces. It really doesn’t matter if the filling spills out a bit as that makes it look so pretty when it is baked! Brush with a little soya cream or milk (optional), sprinkle a few sliced almonds on top and  place in the hot oven for approximately 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it and remove it when it is golden brown all over.

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Delicious served warm, warmish and cold too. This bread can be adapted for any occasion, and I have even made a savoury version before, using homemade tomato sauce and pesto for the filling. I am going to try it with just herbs and garlic soon. 🙂

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Enjoy!

45 thoughts on “Sweet Flower Bread

  1. That looks delicious Cathy; I usually bake on Fridays, always some bread plus something special like Danish pastries, croissants or Chelsea buns etc; I have lots of nuts in the freezer that I need to use so this looks like an ideal choice, thank you. 15 minutes seems very little time in the oven but maybe you oven is more efficient than mine. I made the Christmas tree Chelsea bun for Christmas Eve afternoon tea, I can send you a link to that recipe if you would like to try it.

    • Hi Christina. I was also surprised how quickly it baked, but was careful not too let it get too brown as it is good to reheat it the next day and enjoy warm again. I would love to try Chelsea buns so please do send me the link – I intend to do more baking with yeast this year and experiment with both sweet and savoury things. I like the idea of having a day set aside for baking and might do that myself. My Grandmother always used to bake on Mondays and did her whole week’s worth of puddings in one go…. I don’t think she enjoyed it, but my Grandfather had a sweet tooth! 😉

  2. This looks so professional Cathy and mouthwatering too. Not a type of dough I have tried to bake before, you make this sound very achievable, I really like the sound of the savoury pesto and tomato sauce too.

  3. Gorgeous bread Cathy! A special treat for a special day. For many years I made cinnamon buns and monkey bread every Christmas; made them both again this year for the first time in ages and it made the holidays seem more festive to revive the tradition.

    • I have never had monkey bread, but from pictures I have seen it does look good! I am trying to make my own traditional dishes for Christmas now, as until recent years I was always at my parents’ home and didn’t cook at all. I think this bread was a good start! 😉

  4. This is just beautiful. I will try it! Great for our long dark cold upstate New York winter afternoons. I like the you posted this in January, when all Christmas-y celebratory/sacred things seem to have disappeared overnight!

    • Thanks Valorie. I think it doesn’t have to be reserved just for Christmas as the filling can be changed for each season… we should celebrate all year! 😉

    • This was much too big for the two of us, and our guests were too full the next day to try any, so I put the leftovers in the freezer and it froze beautifully. The last two pieces have been defrosted for tea time today. 🙂

  5. What a pretty bread, Cathy! It must be very delicious, and I’m thinking it might take a little practice to get it just right, at least in the beautiful design. I’d love to practice and have this to serve at our holiday next year. I’ll let you know!

  6. Wow so pretty and photos have started me to drool and for my belly to growl 🙂 it is early Sunday morning here 7 AM but we got none of the nasty storm Jonas which will be the story besides football today, our team is still in the hunt to go to the Superbowl and to hopefully win their 5th ring! 🙂 but first we must win today against another good quarterback 🙂

    I am going to re-post this so I can have the directions handy as well as get others drooling too!

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