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.
- 2 cups dried pears, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1 1⁄2 cups dried figs, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1 cup dried prunes or 1 cup dried plum, roughly chopped
- 1⁄2 cup raisins or 1⁄2 cup sultana
- 2 tablespoons candied orange peel, diced
- 2 tablespoons candied lemon peel, diced
- 1⁄4 cup kirschwasser or 1⁄4 cup rum
- 1 cup water
- 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 (1/4 ounce) packet active dry yeast
- 1 1⁄3-1 1⁄2 cups unbleached whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1⁄8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean)
- 1⁄2 cup blanched almond, roughly chopped
- 1⁄2 cup walnuts, broken into large chunks
- 1⁄2 cup hazelnuts (some may be halved, leave others whole)
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes before removing bread to rack. Allow to cool completely.
- 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.
- Allow bread to come to room temperature before serving. Serve sliced with or without fresh butter, as desired. Good with a cuppa. Frohes Fest!