Festive cranberry bread

Having grown up in a country where Christmas is during the summer, I really enjoy the contrast of the lead up to Christmas where there’s a chill in the air and towns are sparkling from all the festive lights, like here in Ireland. Whilst I love looking at the Myer Christmas windows on a balmy night in Melbourne, Ireland has it’s own charm in December with everyone catching up with friends in the pub, all full of cheer. One thing that it is enjoyable on a cold, dark night is baking, something I’d never think of doing back home at this time of year. Being near a hot oven in 30°c heat isn’t the most fun! However, this ‘pull apart bread’ doesn’t involve the hot oven being on for too long. So it’s great for entertaining in both warmer or cooler climates. This festive bread uses my mulled wine cranberry sauce. Perfect either for the lead up for Christmas, on the day or for New years eve.

Preparation: 50mins plus 1hr 45mins proving time

Cooking: 30 mins

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 sachet (7g) dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs, beaten lightly
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, plus 1-2tbsp extra

Filling

  • 6 tbsp cranberry sauce

Egg wash

  • 1 egg, room temperature

Instructions

  • Pour warm water into a measuring jug and stir in yeast and sugar with a fork. Set aside for 5 minutes or when bubbles start to form on top.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, add flour and salt.
  • Add the eggs and oil to the yeast mixture. Stir to combine and then add to the flour mixture.
  • Using either clean hands to mix the dough to combine or use a stand mixer with dough hooks. Mix by hand for 5 minutes or use the stand mixer for approximately the same time. When the dough starts to either stick on your hands or the dough hooks, and pulls away from the mixing bowl, it’s ready.
  • Oil a large bowl and transfer the dough into the bowl. Leave to rise in a warm place for an hour. If making ahead, leave to rise in the fridge overnight.
  • Knock the air out of the dough by punching it. Transfer it onto a floured surface. Divide into four roughly equal pieces and form into balls.
  • Place some baking paper into a baking sheet. Dust lightly with flour.
  • On the floured surface, roll out an individual ball of dough into a circle, approximately 20cm in diameter. Place onto the prepared baking sheet.
  • Dot two tablespoons of cranberry sauce around the dough circle and spread evenly with the back of a spoon. Make sure that the sauce goes up to the edges of the dough.
  • Continue to roll out each dough ball and layer the dough on top of each other with cranberry sauce in between each layer.
  • Place a skinny drinking glass (such as a Tom Collins glass or a breakfast juice glass) into the centre of the dough and press down slightly. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut into quarters with the glass in place. Focus on one section of the dough at a time. Cut the quarter in half and then cut those into half again. You will have four slices per quarter. Take two of the slices and twist them away from each other twice. Pinch the ends of the twisted dough together. Take the second set of slices and do the same. Then move on to the next quarter, until all the dough has been twisted in sections.
  • Leave to rise for 45 minutes in a warm place.
  • Preheat oven to 190C (170C fan forced).
  • Place the dough into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack, then serve and enjoy!

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