Christmas Tree Bread Recipe

I’ve been asked about Christmas breads as gifts recently so I put on my thinking cap. A lovely Christmas baking treat should be sweet and rich yet not too heavy and take the shape, of course, of something Christmassy.

To achieve this, I adapted a recipe for Austrian Kipferl. My grandmother used to bring home Kipferl from our local bakery; they are a delicious treat, using dough enriched with milk and butter.

Christmas tree bread
Christmas tree bread (cut-out)
Christmas tree bread with pull apart buns
Christmas tree bread with pull-apart buns (its shape could still be improved…!)

Day 1 (evening)

Sponge

  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g water
  • A pinch of dried yeast
  1. Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl and leave to ripen at room temperature for about 20 hours.

Water roux (helps to make the bread tender and fluffy)

  • 15g plain flour
  • 75g semi-skimmed milk
  1. Put the flour and milk into a small saucepan.
  2. Whisk the ingredients together over a small flame and heat the mixture stirring continuously until it thickens.
  3. Take the pan off the heat and continue whisking for a further two minutes.
  4. Leave to cool, then place in the fridge for at least four hours. I usually put the water roux together at the same time as the poolish.

Day 2 (evening)

Dough ingredients

  • Sponge
  • Water roux
  • 280g plain flour
  • 80g semi-skimmed milk
  • 20g sourdough starter (wheat)
  • 1.5g dried yeast
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 9g salt
  • 60g butter
  1. Combine all the ingredients (except butter and salt) and knead for 15 minutes.
  2. Add the butter and continue to combine for another 5 minutes.
  3. Finally, add the salt and continue to knead for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Place into a bowl, cover and rest for 60 minutes at room temperature.
  5. Then put the covered bowl into the fridge for 12 hours.

Day 3 (morning)

Extra ingredients

  • 1 egg (for brushing)
  • A few tbsp of coarse sugar
  1. Take the dough out of the fridge and keep it at room temperature for 2 hours.
  2. Divide the dough into 2 parts and shape into rounds.
  3. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
  4. For the cut-out bread
    Use a rolling pin to roll each dough piece into an oval shape, approximately 7 mm thick. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Using a dough scraper, cut out a Christmas tree shape.
    For the pull-apart bread
    Shape 24 dough balls and arrange them on a second baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  5. Brush with egg wash.
  6. Cover (best to be done with another baking tray as a tea towel would stick to the egg washed dough) and leave to prove for 90 minutes at room temperature.
  7. 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 210°C.
  8. Brush one more time with egg wash, leave to briefly dry for 1 minute, then place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Pull apart bread
Pull apart bread

Et voilà – two perfect Christmas treats for your festive friends!

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Buckwheat Pancake Recipe

Bought a big bag of buckwheat flour and not sure what to do with it? There’s a packet of buckwheat groats sitting in your cupboard waiting for their time in the limelight? I feel your pain! Luckily… I have a solution. With these buckwheat pancakes you will be going through your buckwheat supplies in no time!

Buckwheat pancakes with whole buckwheat groats
Buckwheat pancakes with whole buckwheat groats

Hidden away in the depths of David Tanis’ book “Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys“, I found this wonderful recipe for buckwheat galettes which he serves with ham and cheese, but I recommend salmon and cheese with rocket dressed in rapeseed oil, lemon and garlic; a great dish for weekend brunch. I also really like the addition of buckwheat groats and have opted not to mill them. It makes for a lovely texture and looks good too!

Ingredients for 8 to 10 buckwheat pancakes

  • 160g buckwheat flour
  • 65g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 600g milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 45g buckwheat groats, dry-roasted
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted

Day 1 (evening)

  1. Combine the flours, eggs, milk, salt and groats in a medium bowl and whisk together.
  2. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge overnight.

Day 2 (morning)

  1. Heat a pan over a medium heat.
  2. Using a paper napkin rub a little bit of butter around the pan.
  3. Scoop in about 25g of batter and distribute evenly.
  4. Brown on one side before flipping over.
  5. Remove and set aside (keep warm in the oven until the others are done).
Buckwheat pancakes with salmon, cheddar and rocket salad
Buckwheat pancakes with salmon, cheddar and rocket salad
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