Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Bread Gifts: Red Ribbon Gift Loaf

Are you looking for a unique idea for a lovely bread gift?  This Red Ribbon Gift Loaf (also known as German Kuchen) is made in the shape of a gift with ribbons and a bow on top. The ribbons look like they are actually baked with the bread.  Actually, they are - well, not the actual ribbons but foil placeholders to mark where the ribbons will be placed once the bread has cooled.  A very cool idea indeed!

Kuchen is the German word for "cake" and is used to describe various types of coffee cakes made with either yeasted doughs or leavened cake batters. These cakes can be made with a custard or cheese filling, fresh or dried fruit, or fragrant spices and nuts.

This version is made with a yeasted dough and includes dried fruit, spices and nuts. I've been wanting to make this bread for a couple of years. Not sure why it took me so long to get around to it.  It's a really fun and crafty bread to make.  Easy too! You'll want to make this bread just so you can get your hands on the dough.  It's magnificent!  So silky smooth.  I wanted to keep kneading it even after it was ready. But I refrained.

You might enjoy these other Bread Gift ideas:

If you like coffee cakes, check out this Kaffee Kuchen recipe.

Red Ribbon Gift Bread

Makes: Two Loaves

Click here to view and print the recipe.


In large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, orange peel, cardamom, mace and salt. Heat milk, water and butter until very warm (120°F to 130°F). Gradually, add to flour mixture; beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally.

Add 2 eggs and 1/2 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. With spoon, stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. I used a Danish dough whisk to finish mixing the dough.

Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes.  The dough feels so good.  Look how soft and subtle it is.

Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Punch dough down; turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead in fruits and almonds.

Divide dough in half; shape into two 5 x 5-inch square loaves.

Another one of life's daily mishaps - although this one wasn't my fault!
About this point in the process, a generator blew in my neighborhood so the power went out.  It's always something, isn't it? I'm off this week so I was making this bread during the day rather than at night but the photos are a little bit dark.  But as they say, "the show must go on..."

Place loaves on large greased baking sheet.

Cut four 18 x 2-inch strips of foil. Fold in half lengthwise.

Grease one side of each strip. Mark loaves for tying ribbon after baking by crossing two strips on top of each loaf, greased side down, making “+” shape. Tuck ends of strips under loaves.

Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.

The house was cold due to the power being off so I put the loaves in the oven to rise with a hot cup of water.  About the time the loaves had finished rising, the power came back on.  Funny how that works!

Brush egg white on loaves.

Bake at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes or until done.

Remove from sheet; discard foil and let cool on wire rack.


When cool, tie loaves with 1-inch wide ribbon. Making bow at top.

There we go...isn't that pretty!

I'm submitting this bread for BBD #25 -- Baking under the Tree.  I thought this bread was very appropriate for this month's theme.

BreadBakingDay #25 (last day of submission January 1st, 2009)

Bread Baking Day #25

To learn more about BBD #25, click here.
You have until January 1, 2010 to submit your own Festive bread.  Go ahead and get started...
The round up has already begun so be sure to check out all of the fabulous breads in the BBD #25 Roundup.


I'm also submitting this bread to YeastSpotting a weekly bread roundup hosted by Susan of Wild Yeast. Please visit Wild Yeast to view all of the lovely breads in this week's roundup.

Happy Baking!

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