Christmas morning spiced bread
This festive bread can be made ahead and frozen and makes a lovely treat for breakfast on Christmas morning
- 450g strong white bread flour, plus extra for kneading
- ¾ tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 85g light muscovado sugar
- 2 tsp easy-blend yeast
- 200ml full-fat milk
- 50g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 2 medium eggs, beaten
- 50g walnuts pieces, lightly toasted
- 85g raisins
- 1 egg yolk, to glaze
- butter and jam, to serve
- Sift the flour, salt and cinnamon into a bowl. Stir in the sugar and yeast, then make a well in the centre. Pour the milk into a small pan, add the butter and warm gently until the butter has melted. Pour into the well, then add the beaten eggs. Gradually mix to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.
- Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead vigorously for 5 minutes until smooth. Put the dough into a clean bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave somewhere warm for 11⁄2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size. Lightly butter a 900g loaf tin.
- Punch the air out of the dough and turn it out on to a lightly floured surface again. Knead once more until smooth, then knead in the walnuts and raisins. Divide the dough into three and shape each piece into an oval ball. Drop each ball side by side into the prepared tin and cover loosely with oiled cling film. Leave somewhere warm for 30 minutes until the dough has reached the top of the tin. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to fan 180C/conventional 200C/gas 6.
- Mix the egg yolk with 1 tbsp of water and brush over the top of the risen loaf. Bake for 20 minutes, covering loosely with a double sheet of foil once it’s nicely browned. Then, lower the temperature to fan 160C/conventional 180C/gas 4 and bake for a further 20 minutes. Turn the loaf out of its tin and tap the base – it will sound hollow if the loaf is done. If it doesn’t, return it to the oven out of its tin and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Cool the loaf on a wire rack. (The loaf can be sealed in a plastic bag and frozen for up to 1 month. If you slice it before freezing you can toast the slices straight from the freezer, otherwise you need to remove the whole loaf from the freezer the night before.) Serve lightly toasted, with butter and jam