The holiday season seems to bring out the baker in all of us.
Maybe it’s the alluring aroma of bread in the oven, or perhaps it’s knowing that food is an integral part of our celebrations; after all, we’ll remember the dishes we enjoy for family holidays each year long after we’ll remember the gifts. For some, the act of baking itself is part of the holiday tradition, setting aside time each year to lovingly prepare breads and sweets for family and friends.
We asked three local bakeries to share favorite holiday bread recipes with us so that our readers can get a taste for how these traditional breads are made. Of course, since each of these bakeries is in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you can always pay them a visit to pick up a loaf or two of fresh-baked holiday breads.
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Black Rooster Bakery
Artisan pastries are on the menu at Fort Worth’s Black Rooster Bakery and its newest outpost, the Black Rooster Cafe. All of its pastries and breads are made from scratch daily, and regulars know to get there early to ensure their favorites aren’t sold out for the day. Owner Immy Khan says the bakery’s rich and buttery brioche rolls are the perfect holiday treat. Here, they’re shaped together in a festive wreath. For this straight-from-the-bakery recipe, Immy suggests using a food scale to properly measure the ingredients. Place a bowl of creamy butter or a wheel of baked Brie or Camembert cheese in the center of the wreath to serve.
Brioche Roll Wreath
Makes two 1-pound loaves
For the sponge:
5 ounces (approximately 1 cup) bread flour
3 ounces water
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast*
For the bread:
1 recipe Brioche Sponge (above)
1 ounce milk
5 egg yolks, reserving the egg whites in a small bowl for an egg wash
2 whole eggs
1/3 cup sugar, divided
10 ounces (about 2 1/4 cups) bread flour
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast, less 1/8 teaspoon (used for sponge)
6 ounces butter, chilled
Four hours before mixing the dough, mix the sponge:
1. In the measuring cup, add the yeast to the flour and stir to mix. In a small bowl, add the flour mixture to the water and stir until combined with no dry patches or lumps. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for four hours.
Make the bread:
2. Cut the cold butter into pieces and spread out on a piece of plastic wrap. Place a second sheet of plastic wrap over the butter. Using a rolling pin, smash the butter several times. The butter should still be cold but softened. Set aside.
3. Combine milk, eggs and egg yolks in the large bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add in the sponge. Add the yeast to the flour and stir to combine. Add the flour to the mixing bowl, followed by the salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix ingredients on low speed until it forms into a dough, scraping the bowl as necessary.
4. Turn the mixer up to medium-low speed and mix for four minutes, then slowly pour in the remaining sugar with the machine running. Continue mixing until the sugar is completely incorporated, then start adding the butter. Add pieces of the butter to the dough, waiting until each piece is almost absorbed before adding the next one. Do this until all the butter is incorporated.
5. Continue mixing until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. The dough will look shiny and feel soft, but it should hold together when pulled.
6. Place dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, setting aside for 30 minutes at room temperature. Move the bowl to the refrigerator and chill dough overnight. Dough can also be wrapped well in plastic wrap and placed in a plastic bag for chilling. Allow some room for the dough to expand.
7. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes to warm up. Flour the work surface. Scrape the dough onto the work surface and divide it in half. Divide each half into ten pieces, one half slightly larger than the other. Roll each piece of dough into a tight ball. Add more flour as needed to prevent sticking.
8. On a large greased baking sheet, place the brioche balls in a circle to form a wreath. (One helpful trick is to place a cereal bowl upside down in the center of the pan, placing a ring of ten smaller brioche balls with about 1/4- to 1/2-inch of space between each other around the bowl. Once the first circle is complete, create another ring of larger balls around the first one, placing the second ring slightly off center so that the second ring of balls line up between the balls on the first ring rather than directly behind them. Again, leave about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch space between the balls and both rings.)
9. Cover the pan loosely with a towel and leave at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours to proof (rise). The balls should double in size and spring back lightly when poked. The dough will expand quite a bit when baking.
10. Brush with egg wash (reserved egg white lightly beaten and mixed with 2-3 teaspoons of water until combined) over the dough and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Time and temperature may vary according to the oven. Cover with foil if the top of the bread is getting too brown. The bread should be golden brown when fully baked. Immediately after pulling the baked wreath out of the oven, gently place the pan on a baking rack to cool.
—The Black Rooster Cafe & Bakery, 2430 Forest Park Blvd., Fort Worth, 817-924-1600 or The Black Rooster Cafe, 910 Houston St., Fort Worth, 817-882-8108, www.roosterbakery.com
Central Market Bakery
Central Market is a treasured Texas grocery store that draws in foodies who want to pick up the freshest ingredients or freshly made items, like the many breads, pastries and muffins made in-store daily. For home bakers, too, Central Market offers an array of classes such as December’s “Make & Take Christmas Breads,” which will feature, among other holiday treats, this Eggnog Cranberry Swirl Bread from Sarah Hooton, Cooking School manager at Central Market-Fort Worth.
Eggnog Cranberry Swirl Bread
10 to 12 slices
For the dough:
1/3 cup sugar
1 package quick-rise yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup bourbon or brandy
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, cubed
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons bourbon or brandy
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoon cold butter, divided
Egg Nog Glaze (optional):
1 cup eggnog
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons brandy
1. In a large bowl, mix sugar, yeast, salt, cinnamon and 1 cup flour. In a small saucepan, heat water, bourbon, milk and butter to 120-130 degrees. Add to dry ingredients, then beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
2. Turn out onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.
3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine cranberries, brown sugar and water. Cook over medium heat until cranberries are soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in bourbon, butter, lemon juice and, if desired, walnuts. Cool.
4. Punch down dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; roll into a 20-by-10-inch rectangle. Spread filling to within 1/2 inch of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Transfer to a greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, arranging in a slight zigzag fashion to fit.
5. For topping, in a small bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar; cut in 1 tablespoon butter until crumbly. Melt remaining butter; brush over dough; sprinkle with crumb mixture. Cover with a towel; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.
7. Drizzle loaf or individual slices with glaze, if desired.
—Central Market, various North Texas locations including 1425 E Southlake Blvd, Southlake, 817-310-5600
and 4651 West Freeway, Fort Worth, 817-989-4700, www.centralmarket.com
Village Baking Co.
Since 2004, Village Baking Co. has been kneading and baking all sorts of delectable breads for retail customers and local restaurants. A constant presence at the Keller Farmer’s Market during the warmer months, Village Baking Co. heads indoors to its new baking center and retail store in the Dallas Design District when the weather cools off to offer customers an assortment of breads and pastries. Around the holidays, the bakery offers panettone, a tall, sweet loaf chock-full of candied citrus that’s equally good eaten alone or dipped in a rich egg batter for a decadent French toast.
10 to 12 slices
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon instant yeast
Mix all ingredients until incorporated. Allow to ferment 2 hours at room temperature.
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons bread flour
1/2 cup egg yolks
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons powdered milk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
20 tablespoons butter (in chunks)
1 cup candied orange peel
1/2 cup raisins
In a large bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, add sponge, flour, egg yolks, yeast, salt, milk powder and half the water. Mix on low speed until incorporated, then mix on medium-low. Slowly add sugar as the dough mixes. Mix until dough is smooth and holds its shape, then add butter in chunks. Turn mixer back to low and add sugar and the rest of the water. Add candied orange peel and raisins and mix on low speed for one minute until incorporated. Let dough rest for 10 minutes for first fermentation.
Punch down dough and place in buttered and floured panettone mold, 8-inch cake pan or large coffee can lined with parchment paper. Let dough ferment another 3 hours, 30 minutes.
Bake at 335 in preheated oven for 35 minutes.
—Village Baking Co., 4924 Woodall St., Dallas, 214-951-9077, www.villagebakingco.com