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Pretty loaf of bread

ready to give

I saw this beautiful loaf of bread, more like a bunch of rolls actually, on Pinterest, and instantly knew I wanted to make it ASAP. The wonderful blog it originated from is called The Italian Dish. Check it out, I know you’ll love it.

I had to hold Dave, Marissa, and Connor back from diving into this when it came out of the oven. I did not bake it for them – I brought it as a hostess gift to the lovely Joanne and handsome Mark, who had us over on New Year’s Eve.

Use you imagination, and you could take this basic recipe, shape the dough into balls, and make any number of designs.

tree loaf

From a festive tree for next Christmas to a heart, for Valentine’s Day.

Thank you, Mark and Joanne, we had a fun evening, even if I was a bit sore and tired which resulted in us leaving before midnight.

Which reminds me – I have not given an update on my pelvic injury in a while – I am doing so much better! I have been walking on my own, without the walker, since last Thursday. I’ve even ventured upstairs a time or two when I’ve needed something up there. Most importantly, I’m driving, so life is just about back to normal! I should be completely healed in about two weeks.

Thank you again for all your kind deeds and lovely thoughts and prayers. God is good and so are you! xoxo


Harvest Grape Bread

3 cups flour, divided
1 tablespoon or 1 package of dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
2 egg whites, divided (yolks discarded)

Sugar, optional

flour spices

Combine 1  1/4 cups of the flour, the yeast, cardamom, and nutmeg in the bowl of a standing mixer.

warm butter and milk mix

Place the butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and melt in the microwave. Blend in the milk, sugar, and salt.

wet stuff

Add the milk mixture, Cointreau, and one of the egg whites to the dry ingredients.

wet and dry

Use the paddle attachment to mix ingredients until blended.

remaining flour

Add the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that does not stick to the bowl.

pulls away

Continue to mix until smooth.

oiled bowl

Place dough in a greased bowl; turn once to grease the surface, clover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled about two hours.

risen dough

Punch dough down; let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Remove about 1/5 of the dough to use for the leaves and vines, cover, and set aside.

forming cluster

Using the remaining dough, shape it into about 36 to 40 balls, each about the size of a walnut.

grape bunch

Arrange balls on a greased baking sheet, or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat, in the shape of a bunch of grapes.

for leaves

On a lightly floured surface, roll the reserved dough to a rectangle and cut triangular shapes for leaves and vines. Position shaped leaves and vines atop the widest end of the bunch of “grapes” – the top of the loaf.

egg wash

Brush the entire grape bunch with a mixture of egg wash – consisting of the remaining egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon of water. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired.

Let rise in a warm place, covered very lightly with a towel, for about 45 to 60 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

With a very sharp knife, slash ribs in the leaves.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until bread is just golden.

Remove to wooden board or serving tray.  Serve warm and let your guests serve themselves by pulling off little rolls of bread.

 Makes about 47 rolls

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1 comment

1 Marissa { 01.02.13 at 10:59 AM }

I guess you’ll just have to make it again so we can have some! I like the Christmas tree one!

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