Sunday, December 16, 2012

Portuguese Honey Bread


  • 1 14 cups unsalted butter (softened plus additional for buttering pans)
  • 34 cup dried cranberries (sour cherries)
  • 34 cup candied fruit (chopped mixed, pear citron and candied orange peel not a supermarket brand; 14 lb)
  • 14 cup port
  • 1 14 cups walnuts (4 14 oz)
  • 4 12 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 12 tsp ground ginger
  • 12 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 14 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tsps active dry yeast (two 14 oz packages)
  • 14 cup warm water
  • 34 cup molasses (blackstrap)
  • 12 cup honey (mild)
  • 12 cup honey (mild)


Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Butter loaf pans.

Bring cranberries, candied fruit, and Port to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and set aside, covered.

Pulse walnuts in a food processor until just coarsely chopped. Add flour, salt, baking soda, and spices and pulse to combine.

Beat together butter (2 1/2 sticks) and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes in a stand mixer or 6 with a handheld. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Stir together yeast and warm water in a small bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)

Add one third of flour mixture to butter mixture and mix at low speed until combined, then add molasses and mix until incorporated. Add half of remaining flour mixture and mix until combined, then add honey and mix until incorporated. Add yeast mixture and remaining flour mixture and mix until combined, then stir in candied-fruit mixture.

Divide batter among pans, smoothing tops. (Do not let batter rise.) Bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in centers of loaves comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in pans on a rack 10 minutes, then remove loaves from pans and cool completely on rack.

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