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Russian Christmas Bread Recipe - Krendel

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Russian Christmas Bread - Krendel

Russian Christmas Bread - Krendel

© Pastryday on Flickr
This recipe for Russian Christmas bread or krendel produces a pretzel-shaped sweet yeast bread filled with dried fruits that is lightly iced or, alternatively, dusted with confectioners' sugar or coarse sugar. While kulich and paska are traditional for Easter, krendel is the preferred Christmas bread. Freeze the leftover egg whites or try one of these leftover egg white recipes.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Rising: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 50 minutes

Yield: 1 large Russian Krendel

Ingredients:

  • Dough:
  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) softened butter
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg yolks (leftover egg white recipes)
  • About 3 cups all-purpose flour, more or less
  • Melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon mixed with 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Fruit Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped pitted prunes
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried pears
  • 2/3 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup sweet white wine or white grape juice
  • Glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspons lemon juice or milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 2-3 teaspoons warm water

Preparation:

  1. To make the dough: In a large bowl or stand mixer, dissolve yeast in 3 tablespoons sugar and 3/4 cup warm milk. Add 1/4 cup butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, salt, egg yolks and 1 1/2 cups flour. Using the paddle attachment, beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Switch to the dough hook and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.

  2. Meanwhile,to make the filling: In a large saucepan, bring butter, sugar, prunes, pears, apricots, fresh apple, dried pear, and wine or juice to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes or until fruit is tender and mixture has thickened like jam, stirring occasionally. Cool to room temperature.

  3. When dough has risen, punch it down. On a lightly floured surface or between sheets of parchment paper, roll into a 32-inch-by-10-inch rectangle. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture over butter. Spread cooled fruit filling to within 1 inch of edges. Roll up from the 32-inch side as for a jellyroll. Pinch seam together to seal. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, seam side down. Form into a pretzel shape. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.

  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread 45 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 190 degrees. While the bread is baking, make the glaze by combining in a small bowl the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice or milk, vanilla or almond extract and enough water to make a smooth, runny glaze.

  5. Remove the krendel from oven let cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. While still slightly warm, drizzle glaze over the top. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.
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