Italian Holiday Bread
January 7, 2012

by stacy
Published on: January 7, 2012
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“This is a rather sweet brioche-type bread, exceedingly light and baked free form.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

On Thursday night, I made the last of the Egg Breads: Italian Holiday Bread.  It was a good weeknight recipe, because it only requires one rising.

Here are the ingredients:

Italian Holiday Bread Ingredients

This is a recipe that does the Egg Bread chapter justice–two whole eggs, three egg yolks, and then an additional egg yolk (egg not pictured) for the glaze.

I found that the amount of butter (one stick to four cups of flour) yielded a very clay-like dough that was difficult to knead and shape into loaves.  I finally resorted to rolling the dough into two circles with rolling pin and then pulling the edges together to form a round loaf.

After nearly two hours of rising time, I brushed the loaves with an egg yolk, water, flour, and sugar mixture and made a few artistic cuts in the top.

Italian Holiday Bread Before Baking

I pulled the loaves out after 30 minutes at the oven at 325 degrees.  Only after cutting into the loaves did I discover a very small doughy portion in the center of one, and the other was baked through.  I still struggle with the occasional under-baked free-form loaf, especially since they both sounded hollow when I rapped them with my knuckles.

Italian Holiday Bread

Italian Holiday Bread wasn’t at all what I was expecting.  From Beard’s description, I imagined a light, sweet bread.  In actuality, the texture was heavier (closer to Brioche Bread than Water-Proofed Bread) and was very slightly sweetened.

Since I like lighter breads, Italian Holiday Bread isn’t an egg bread that I would make again.  However, it did provide me with some good experience shaping free-form loaves.

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