Lord, I’ve seriously been dragging when it comes to getting stuff up on this blog. For one, this Belgian cramique, aka eggy raisin wreath bread, was something I made for the holidays.
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (~110 degrees)
- 3 eggs
- 5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup seedless raisins
- 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
I started by heating the milk in a small pot with some butter, sugar and salt to about 110 degrees. I gave the pot a stir, then dissolved the yeast in warm water, which I then combined with the milk mixture along with a few eggs. After adding the liquid into a large mixing bowl, I gradually beat in about 5 cups of flour.
In went the raisins. Then I plopped the soft dough ball onto a well-floured surface and got to kneading, adding flour to keep the dough from sticking. Once smooth and satiny (about 15-20 minutes later), I placed the dough in a greased bowl, making sure to oil the top as well. I covered the whole thing, and let it sit for about 45 minutes until it had doubled in size.
I took the dough, punched it down and kneaded a few times before dividing it in half. From each half, I made 6 equal parts (making 12 total). I pinched off about an inch-and-a-half-sized ball from each part to reserve for the topknots, then proceeded to roll the larger pieces into round balls. I arranged the large balls in a couple of well-oiled cake pans, 6 in each. Shaping the reserved dough into small teardrops, I made a hole in the tops of the large balls with my pinky finger and then popped the teardrops into ‘em. I covered the whole shebang one more time to let rise another 45 minutes. Once risen, I gave the wreaths a nice basting with an egg yolk-water mix, then slid them into a preheated 350 degree F oven.
The Sunset Breads cookbook says to bake the raisin wreath holiday bread for about 45 minutes until richly browned. I’d say keep an eye on them at about 35 minutes in—mine were definitely ready to go sooner than expected.