Birnbrot - Swiss Pear Bread

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“From The Festive Bread Book by Kathy Cutler. I made this the first time in honor of a Swiss colleague who was interning with us. I asked her if it was like birnbrot at home and she laughed and said that it was not, but that it was very good. I'm not sure what the difference is, as I've never had it when in Switzerland. But it's a very nice Christmas bread and has the added benefit of using dried pears, a convenience when fresh pears are not in season.”
3hrs 15mins
1 loaf

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Dissolve the yeast in water, add one tsp flour and set aside in warm place for 10 minutes or so, until it is foamy and bubbly.
  2. Mix 1 cup flour, salt, sugar and softened butter in a mixer bowl. Add the yeast mixture and egg and mix thoroughly.
  3. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.
  4. Place in greased bowo, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  5. Prepare the filling while the dough is rising. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
  6. Add the fruit and the lemon juice to the water. Simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes or until so tender that it can be mashed easily. Drain the fruit.
  7. Puree in a blender or food processor. Remove to a bowl and combine with the walnuts, lemon zest, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly - this will be a thick mixture.
  8. Grease a large baking sheet. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a 9 x 9 inch square.
  9. Spread the filling on the dough, leaving a 1-inch margin all around. Roll the dough jelly-roll style.
  10. Place on the grease baking sheet, seam side down, and let rise in a warm place, covered, until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  11. Brush with glaze and bake in preheated 350 deg F oven 30 to 40 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack.

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