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German Fruit Bread (Hutlesbrodt)

Mom made bread every week, usually the white kind.  As a little kid I thought the very best bread was the insides of a slice, still a little warm from being baked.  Occasionally Mom made raisin bread which was darker and rather bitter…too much so for my little kid palate.  Sometimes she even went so far as to add citron or candied fruit.  “Gross,” was my humble opinion.  Why would anyone do that?  Well, from these clippings I’m going to assume it was something she grew up with in Germany and was something festive that you made at Christmas time.  I wonder if she thought these were “Yummy” or just made her nostalgic for the old country.  

In the first clipping, Farm Gal from Nebraska spells it “Hutlesbrodt”.  I empathize with her for trying to figure out how to spell a German word passed down by word of mouth, but never in print.  The second clipping is closer to what I found when I researched it.  I found that the term is Swabian German: “Hutzelbrot”. The name comes from a type of bread that contains dried pears (“Hutzeln”). Incidentally, if a person spoke “Swabian German” that was a dialect from the south of Germany.  My parent always told me “We speak Low German.  Low German is what you speak at home, but High German is what they teach in school.”  High German (Hochdeutsch) is taught in schools and it’s what you hear when you turn on the TV or the radio. Low German is what people talk at home, it’s kind of a slang and it varies from region to region.

Two Recipes for Old German Fruit Bread

Dear Hope:  I am sending two Hutzel Brod recipes that Clare from Kansas requested.

No. 1 Hutlesbrodt (an old German recipe)

Make a coffee cake batter as follows:
1 quts warm water
1 package yeast, dissolved
4 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt.

Mix with enough flour for a soft batter.  Soak 1 pound dried prunes.  Cook slowly till tender.  Sweeten and cool.  Remove seeds from prunes.  Have enough juice on them  for 1 cupful.  Add:

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
Nuts, as many as you like (pecans or hickory nuts preferred)

Mix all into soft dough.  Mix stiff like bread.  Let rise once, then form into loaves.  Let rise again and bake at 350 degrees.

I clipped this recipe out of a paper or magazine just as it reads here.  I have never tried it.  So you will have to use your own judgment on amount of flour to use and how long to bake.  I suppose about an hour.

No. 2 Hutzel Brod:
I clipped this one from somewhere too, and have baked this.  This German fruit bread is delicious, keeps well and makes an excellent holiday breakfast dish.

Stew 2 pounds prunes, 2 pounds dried pears (I would prefer dried apricots), each by itself.  Pit, drain, and cut the fruit, saving the juice of each.

1 pound raisins
1 pound currants
1/2 poud almonds, shredded
1/2 pound walnuts chopped
4 ounces citron
4 ounces orange peel
4 ounces figs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon anise seed.

Make your sponge from 6 pounds flour, warmed.  Wet it with 1 quart fruit juice.  Add 2 cakes compressed yeast, work it and set it to rise.  When light work in:
Another 1 quart fruit juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 wine glass brandy or sherry
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon salt

Now add all the rest of the fruit.  Knead well, let rise, then make into loaves.  Let rise again, and bake in a very slow oven.

This is an old German recipe and makes twelve loaves.  Try giving Hutzel Brod for unusual gifts.

Just a reminder about these recipes.  It seems to me there is an awful lot of liquid for the sponge.  I wonder if you couldn’t use less, but the same amount of yeast, and not quite as much fruit or flour.  I am going to try it that way.

Here is a good way to cook the prunes.  Night before using, wash prunes, put in large jar or crock, pour boiling water over just to cover.  Cover tightly and let set overnight.  Next morning put over low heat and just simmer, don’t boil, for about 20 minutes.  Add very little sugar, and they are really good.  — A Farm Gal from Nebraska.

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