Traditional German Christmas Fruit Bread - Kletzenbrot

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Total Time
3hrs
Prep 30 mins
Cook 2 hrs 30 mins

This is a deliciously moist and dense bread, full of nuts and fruit, that keeps very well. Kletzenbrot is traditionally baked on St. Thomas Day (December 21). Then it is wrapped and stored in the fridge until Christmas Eve. The story goes, if you cut into the bread before Christmas, you will grow donkey's ears! 'Kletzen' are sweet, dried pears. Cooking time includes a one and a half hour rising time for the bread.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Place the dried pears, figs, prunes, raisins or sultanas, candied orange and lemon peel, and the spices into a medium saucepan with a cup of water, the sugar, and the kirsch or rum. Bring just to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Immediately remove from heat and cover; set aside to steep.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl dissolve the yeast in a half cup of the lukewarm steeping liquid, and let sit until bubbling (about 5 minutes).
  3. Gradually stir the flour into the yeast mixture, adding a little more liquid or flour if necessary to make a firm dough. Wrap the dough with a clean tea towel, and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
  4. Gradually add the nuts, candied orange and lemon peel, and the dried fruit and knead well into the dough. Form the dough into a loaf. Leave to rise for an hour again.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Butter the baking sheet (or line with parchment paper), and bake the loaf for about an hour (50 to 60 minutes).
  6. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before removing bread to rack. Allow to cool completely.
  7. Wrap bread in cling wrap and then in foil, and place in a cool spot or the refrigerator to mellow for up to several weeks.
  8. Allow bread to come to room temperature before serving. Serve sliced with or without fresh butter, as desired. Good with a cuppa. Frohes Fest!