… home for Christmas. These are the words i’ve been longing to type and finally I can. Although to be honest last weekends pre-Christmas shenanigans were so perfectly ‘Christmas’ that we kinda feel like we’ve done it already. Both The Viking and I are pretty much happy to loosen the slacks and settle into the sofa for a week without actually getting up for anything on the 25th. I say that now but I know that a little mini-roast will go down beautifully and if I didn’t make anything then what would we eat for leftovers? So yes, there will be roasted bird and vegetables on the big day but i’m certainly not getting out of my pyjamas to do it. I love these last few days leading up to Christmas. Even the odd bit of frenetic shopping doesn’t bother me because it’s the one time of the year when I know with certainty everyone that could bother me for work won’t because they’re also away doing their Christmassy thing. It’s like a large sigh of relief and it leaves me with a warm and contented feeling inside. I also love these days because it means I can happily potter around the kitchen, making a mess and baking up little treats to eat over the next few days… utter bliss!
Twisted Nutella bread
So this beauty is one of those clever little twisty loaves you see in fancy bakeries and recently on the Great British Bake Off. It’s the kind of loaf I never make because usually i’m not very good at the fancy, delicate stuff but I saw one of those youtube tutorials as I was browsing Facebook the other day and it all looked so simple that I really waned to give it a go. It’s not come out as pretty as it could have had I the patience of other bakers but boy does it taste phenomenal. Being the miracle stuff that it is, Nutella makes everything taste good but it just works so brilliantly here. A perfect antidote for anyone who’s not crazy for all the dried fruit and spices at this time of year…
I’ve used my classic challah recipe which has worked beautifully for the loaf and is just sweet enough as a bed for the nutella which I think is the whole point of this bread – delivering a soft doughy vehicle for one of the best nut spreads on the planet!
- 300g strong white bread flour
- 400g wholewheat bread flour
- 1 and a 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 80g unsalted butter
- 2 generous teaspoons of honey
- 2 teaspoons fast action dried yeast
- 3 large eggs – beaten
- 8fl oz warm milk
- 4 generous tablespoons of nutella spread
place the flour and salt in a large ceramic bowl and rub in the butter, then stir in the yeast and the salt
place the honey into the milk and warm it gently, then pour this and the beaten egg to the flour
using a rubber spatula, bring it together until a dough forms, then turn it our onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until soft. It will be very sticky at first but a little flour sprinkled on your work surface will help. Oil the bowl.
place the kneaded dough back into the oiled bowl, cover with cling film and let it rise until doubled in size, which should be roughly an hour.
knead again for 5 minutes, then place it back in the bowl and let it rise again, till doubled
once risen, remove from the bowl and gently roll out on a very lightly greased surface, into a large rectangle… I tend to tease it out a little with my hands and then use a greased rolling pin to get it to spread out further.
spread a generous layout of nutella onto the dough (sometimes heating the nutella first for a few seconds in the microwave can help distribute it more evenly) and then carefully roll the dough up into a long sausage.
cut the rolled dough into two and lay them side by side and, using a very sharp knife, slice a long cut down the full length of each sausage shape, not all the way through but just enough for the interior to splay open to reveal the layers
carefully twist the two sausage lengths together trying to keep the sliced edge to the top – place the twisted loaf into your loaf tin (you will probably have enough length of dough to make 1 large loaf and one small loaf) and set aside the tin for 30 minutes to rise
pre-heat the oven to 200C
after the loaf has risen for 30 mins, slam it into the oven for 10 mins at 200C then reduce the temp to 170C for a further 20 minutes – but check after 15 to make sure the nutella isn’t burning
let the bread set aside to cool completely before removing from the tin and slicing generously to serve.
eat and of course, enjoy… and I wish you all a very merry Christmas!