Swedish Christmas Bread
The combination of rye, beer and molasses makes this an unusual Christmas bread.
Makes two 1 1/2 pound (680 g) Loaves
2 cups (480 ml) culture
2 tablespoons (30 g) butter
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) molasses
1 cup (240 ml) beer
1/2 cup (60g) chopped candied fruit peel
2 tablespoons anise seed
3 cups (340 g) rye flour
3 cups (420 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
Pour the culture into a mixing bowl. Melt the butter, then stir into it the salt, molasses, and beer. Add the candied fruit peel and anise to the mixture, then pour it into the culture and mix well. Add the rye flour and mix well. Add the all-purpose flour a cup (140 g) at a time until the dough becomes too stiff to mix by hand. Turn out onto a floured board and knead in the remaining flour until the dough is smooth and satiny.
Proof the dough overnight (8 to 12 hours) at room temperature, about 70°F (21°C), in a large bowl covered with plastic wrap. During this time, the dough should double in size. After the proof, use a spatula to gently ease the dough out onto a floured board. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes. If marked flattening occurs during this time, knead in additional flour before shaping.
Shape the rested dough by dividing it in half and forming 2 balls, then pulling and patting the balls into 2 oblong loaves. Place the loaves, seam side down, on a baking sheet and proof for 2 to 4 hours, until the loaves double in bulk. Proof, the first hour at room temperature and then at 85° to 90°F (29° to 32°C) in a proofing box.
Place the baking sheet with its shaped, proofed loaves in a cool oven, then turn the temperature to 375°F (190°) and bake for 65 to 70 minutes. When the loaf is baked, remove it from the pan and let cool on a wire rack for at least 15 to 20 minutes before slicing.
Have a very merry Christmas!!!!