Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Tree??? Bread

My heart was in the right place. That's what matters most right?

Remember this? Well, it's that time of year again and this bread has to be made and delivered. But remember how I'm living in Italy and things are different here? Like yeast, powdered sugar packages, shortening, maraschino cherries, ovens, and green sprinkles.

I was afraid to even try to do this. But my mother-in-law who is currently living in Thailand said that if she could make it there, I could do it in Italy. So I gave it a try....

My oven is teeny tiny and doesn't have a rack so anything (and almost everything) gets burned on the bottom- yes I hate it but with some constant adjustment to the -not-even-marked- gas dial I am able to salvage what I put in there. I think by the time I leave I will have figured out the perfect position of the knob for baking this and that.

Yeast is different. I experimented with their "dry" yeast with pizza dough and it was not a total loss but it was ....interesting.... so I tried the fresh "cake" yeast for this recipe. I cannot tell you how long it took me to convert the measurements from "dry" to "cake" then from teaspoons to grams etc.... and then double, triple, quadruple check them online because I did NOT want to mess this up. All that worked proved successful when I saw the wonderful heap of risen dough in my pan. I was shocked- really.

Sprinkles are almost non existent here or I've just had the hardest time finding them. Unless you want to pay a lot for Easter colored sprinkles that I really dislike to taste and texture of. So I restored to what I could find- green tapioca peals from a little Asian market. I thought, "hey- they're green! I'll just throw those ontop" Bleh- they weren't even chewable. Scratch that idea.

Maraschino Cherries- haven't found them but I did find these candied versions used for fruit cake. So even though I had to advise those I gave the bread to NOT EAT THE CHERRIES! (cause they were kinda weird and glossy)- they added nicely to the otherwise lacking appearance of my bread.

Powdered sugar comes in small small packages so I almost cleared the store out of all their packets just to have enough for the recipe. I had to use a substitute for shortening and I tried mixing the dough by hand for the first time- I know my mother-in-law can do it successfully each time- but I think next year I'll stick to my Kitchen Aid.

Enough- right? I was frustrated and sad with the beginning process of the bread making but by the end- after I had delivered the bread, I thought that even though it was hard, I did it- (kinda) and I didn't give up- like I wanted to so many times. Just like the little engine that could... I made it- with a little motivation that I must have stored up just for this occasion (and a couple of silly dancing sessions in the kitchen with Tyson made everything better)

December 8th
Activity: Deliver Christmas Tree Bread
Scripture Reading: Helaman 14:2-3


  1. I'm impressed that you tried!!! Who knew that something like yeast would be so different! In the end, how did it taste??? That's more important than green sprinkles ;) And no rack in the oven??? What's up with that? Could you roll up tin foil in thick long snakes to get your pan off the bottom a bit? You're amazing. My first Christmas tree breads will be Wednesday when I teach 12 squirrely beehives how to make them. We'll see how that goes. Love you!

  2. P.S. When I teach the beehives I will have the luxury of yeast, shortening, powdered sugar, AND green sprinkles! Again, you're amazing

  3. Props Brianna, you get serious props for making more than one of those. I definitely would have given up. Way to keep the tradition alive!

  4. Janette- the foil is a great idea. Right now I have a broiling-ish pan that basically is no different from putting the pans right on the bottom of the oven. I will try the foil!

    As far as taste goes, it was great hot out of the oven, but by the next day all I could taste was yeast...!!!???!!! Weird!