Hutzelbrot

Meaning literally ‘dried fruit bread’, Hutzelbrot (hoot-zell-braht) is packed zoith fruit and nuts. This large quantity of dough requires enormous mixing bowls and baking sheets, so if you do not own ‘larger than life mixing utensils’, halve the quantity.

2-

4 oz. plus

1 teaspoon butter, melted

1 oz. fresh yeast

4 oz. plus

½ teaspoon sugar

1 pint

8 fl. oz. lukewarm water

3 lb. flour

2 teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground fennel seeds

½ teaspoons ground cloves

1 teaspoon salt

2 oz. dried apricots, chopped

2 oz. dried pears, chopped

2 oz. dried apples, chopped

10 oz. whole hazelnuts

6 oz. seedless raisins

4 oz. chopped candied peel

Using the teaspoon of butter, lightly grease three large baking sheets and set them aside.

Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and, with a fork, mash in the ½ teaspoon of sugar. Add 4 fluid ounces of the warm water and cream the water, sugar and yeast together. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the yeast mixture has risen and is frothy.

Sift half the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the coriander, fennel, cloves and salt. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in the yeast mixture, the remaining melted butter, and the remaining water.

Using your fingers, gradually draw the flour into the liquid. Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated.

Set the bowl aside for 15 minutes.

Sift the remaining flour into a large mixing bowl and add the chopped dried fruit, hazelnuts, raisins and candied peel.

Using your hands mix the flour, fruit and nut mixture into the yeast mixture and turn the dough out on to a floured board or marble slab. Knead the dough well until it is smooth and elastic.

Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the mixing bowl. With your hands, shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl.

Dust the top of the dough with a little flour and cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place and leave it for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until the dough has risen and almost doubled in bulk.

Turn the risen dough out of the bowl on to a floured surface and knead the dough for 2 minutes.

Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 3 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball.

Place the balls on the baking sheets, cover them with a damp cloth and return them to a warm place for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until they have risen and almost doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to hot 425 °F (Gas Mark 7, 220°C). When the second rising is completed, place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to fairly hot 375 °F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C) and continue baking for 30 minutes or until the tops of the loaves are crusty and golden brown.

After removing the bread from the oven, tip the loaves off the baking sheets and rap the undersides with your knuckles. If the bread sounds hollow, like a drum, it is cooked. If it does not sound hollow, lower the oven temperature to cool 300°F (Gas Mark 2, 150°C), return the loaves on the baking sheets, to the oven and bake them for a further 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and cool the loaves on a wire rack.

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