Bishop’s Bread Made With Egg Whites is a classic European recipe that uses leftover egg whites, candied fruits, nuts, pieces of chocolate, dried fruits etc. This sweet bread is baked around holidays.
Bishop’s Bread Made with Egg Whites- European Recipe
I found this recipe in one of my mother’s old cookbooks. My fascination with cooking books is old and very dangerous(my husband is rolling his eyes at me when I receive another book in the mail) and I have quite a collection of them. However, I am very attracted to the old ones, because most recipes in these books do not waste any ingredients.
You can even tell by the era when the specific cookbook was written, if the food was scarce or not.
This recipe is simple to make with ingredients you already have in your pantry, and can quickly become one of your favorites.
This past Easter, I went to visit my daughter in DC. She was going to spend the holiday alone.
While she did not specifically ask me to visit, the constant calls and text messages where she would remind me she would be alone and probably just eating “something out of the fridge”, made me realize that the poor child (yes, she is thirty but is still a baby in my eyes) might just need her mom’s cooking and company.
We ended up cooking up a storm and I made Lemon Bars for dessert that she ended up taking to work as well.
The only problem was that we had so many egg whites left over from the recipe and we just did not want to waste them.
While I was trying to figure out what to do with them, I remembered about my mom’s recipe and decided to make it again.
My daughter was at work, so I went through her pantry and found all of the ingredients I needed. You know this Bishop’s Bread recipe is easy to make, when even my daughter( who does not bake very often) still had all of the ingredients in her pantry.
Flour, the leftover egg whites, butter, orange, lemon rind and juice, raisins and walnuts. That’s it! Easy-peasy lemon squeezy.
This bread made with egg whites is a very delicate, fluffy, delicious dessert that is full of surprises. It is a versatile recipe as you can use nuts, raisins, candied orange peel or other dried fruits, even chocolate to make this bread a decadent dessert.
Each version is different as many countries make the recipe based on the ingredients available or preferred in their cuisine.
There is also no baking powder in this recipe. The air incorporated in the egg whites helps the bread rise.
Bishop’s Bread recipe is probably 2-300 years old and it seems to come from Germany. The name in German is Bischof’s Brot but France makes it also(Pain d’évêque), a little bit different though.
This recipe, in particular, comes from Transylvania, Romania and it is very popular around Christmas and Easter.
In the Romanian cuisine, Christmas and Easter are the biggest opportunities to cook and bake a lot. There are cakes and cookies and Romanian traditional sweet bread Cozonac, but also mayonnaise made from scratch and other products that use lots of egg yolks.
Egg whites are not discarded but used in different baked goods like meringue desserts or this fabulous bread.
What kind of nuts and candied fruit can you add in the Bishop’s Bread?
Nuts: I used walnuts this time, but a combination of walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds works as well. Roast the nuts in a skillet for 2-3 minutes until they develop the flavor.
Do not add anything to the pan, but keep an eye on them all the time, so they don’t burn. This technique intensifies the flavor of the nuts.
After they cool down a little bit, chop them with a knife, but in big chunks for a good texture.
Dried fruits: I used raisins, but if you do not like them, use cranberries or sour cherries or a mixture of them. Dried apricots chopped really small are good as well.
In this particular recipe rehydrate the dried fruits with vanilla extract and the lemon juice and set them aside until it’s time to use them.
Plump raisins are always preferable because they give your baked goods a more delicate texture. Even when you put raisins in a very wet mixture like the one in the Sweet Cheese Slab Pie, you still want your raisins to be plump and moist.
What other ingredients do you need for this bread?
This is a very easy recipe to make if you have a stand up mixer. However, you can do it also using a hand mixer or by hand. You will definitely get some work out upper body with the egg whites, but hey, it is all worth it, right?
Important: the bowl that you are going to use to beat the egg whites needs to be very clean(if you are not sure, wash it again with hot water and soap, rinse well and dry). Greasy spots will prevent the egg whites to rise and will ruin the recipe.
The secret to this moist bread is the melted butter. Can you replace the butter with oil? Probably, but I would not do it.
Obviously, you can do things with this recipe that I would not approve, but you need to remember that in order to get the taste that this bread should have, you have to follow the instructions.
Also, this cake is not on the cheap site, as it has a lot of ingredients that might seem expensive.
However, if you are afraid of butter(which you shouldn’t), you need to remember that you don’t bake this cake every weekend(unless you want to), so feel free to splurge once in a while and buy quality ingredients, like good butter, dried or candied fruits, good nuts.
From the amount of ingredients we use for this recipe, we will obtain two loaves of bread.
Candied orange peel gives an amazing flavor to the bread, so if you have some, don’t forget to add it. In conclusion, this is a recipe that uses ingredients available in the pantry. You can definitely play with the flavors.
This bread also has vanilla and lemon/orange zest that are very important for the flavor profile.
No baking powder? Why?
No baking powder. The egg whites are enough to rise this bread properly, IF you beat them correctly and also mix them in the batter the right way.
How to make this Bishop’s Bread Made With Egg Whites:
First and the most important step – Prepare the ingredients and the pans:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Note: I bought my daughter an oven thermometer because everyone should have one in their kitchen. Sometimes the oven temperature sensor is not working right and you never know what the actual temperature is inside.
The easiest way to solve this problem is buying an oven thermometer and check the temperature even after your oven tells you it is done preheating.
Also butter and flour the insides of two loaf pans. It is important to get them ready before we start anything else. Set them aside.
Melt the butter and mix it with the lemon zest. Set it aside.
Measure the sugar.
The recipe asks for sifted flour and this is a VERY IMPORTANT step. The difference in volume between sifted and unsifted flour is very different.
The way I sift my flour is through a fine mesh strainer. It gets rid of impurities and also makes the flour fluffier which is perfect for this delicate bread.
After you sift the flour, measure it and set it aside.
Measure the nuts, then roast them for 2-3 minute to develop their aroma. Chop them but not very small.
Place the dried and candied fruits in a little bowl and squeeze the juice from half lemon over them.
In a clean mixer bowl place the egg whites and the salt. Salt is essential in many baked goods as it enhances the taste of the final product. Do not skip it.
Beat the egg whites to a soft peak. Add the sugar, all at once and continue to beat them to a stiff peak, exactly the same way you would beat the egg whites for a meringue. They have to look stiff and glossy.
Now, we are done with the mixer. Everything forward needs to be worked with a spatula.
Over the egg whites, start adding the rest of the ingredients. Flour, dried fruits, nuts, half of the melted butter, everything goes inside the bowl.
Very important! Do not add the dry ingredients one by one. Mixing the egg whites too much makes them lose all the air built by beating them stiff and the recipe will be ruined. Your breads will be dense, small and gummy.
With large moves and using a spatula, incorporate the ingredients slowly. The easiest way is to move the spatula from underneath to the surface, making sure you touch the bottom and the walls of the bowl.
Add the rest of the butter and incorporate it slowly making sure you have a pretty homogenous mixture.
Immediately pour the batter in the two prepared loaf pans and level the batter gently.
How to bake this Bishop’s bread with egg whites? What temperature and for how long?
I hope you now understand why I was insisting to prepare everything in advance. Your oven should be now ready to use.
Place the pans in the oven and DO NOT OPEN the oven’s door for the first 25 minutes. These breads will bake for about 35-40 minutes.
If you have an oven that burns in certain areas and you need to move the pans around to make sure they bake everywhere, move them, but only after the first 25 minutes.
Check the breads with a toothpick in the middle and make sure the toothpick comes out clean and dry. If it comes out sticky and with batter on it, return the breads to the oven and bake them 1-2 minutes more.
When ready, remove the pans from the oven and do not mess with them for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes you can remove them from the pans, on a metal rack and allow them to cool slowly.
How to serve this Bishop’s Bread Made with Egg Whites- European Recipe
This delicate bread made with egg whites can be cut only after it is completely cool. The easiest way to cut it is using a serrated knife.
It has a perfect texture, it should not be sticky or wet in the middle. The butter makes it delicious and delicate. The fruits and nuts are distributed nicely inside the bread and did not sink to the bottom.
Each slice of this bread is basically melting in your mouth, there is texture from the nuts and dried fruits and also flavor from everything we added to it.
This Bishop’s Bread Made with Egg Whites recipe is perfect for when you have leftover egg whites to use up, or you want to bring a baked good to book club or afternoon coffee with a friend.
It is easy to make and you will be so pleased with the results.
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It also packs well for lunches and the walnuts make it a bit more nutritious because they are dense in nutrients and heart healthy fats and proteins.
Let me know if you made this bread and if your friends and family liked it!
- 10 egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup/200 g granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- zest from 1 medium lemon
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) + 1 1/2 tablespoons/250 g melted butter
- 1 2/3 cups /7.05oz/200 g all purpose flour
- 2/3 cups/3.5 oz/100g nuts(walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans etc- choose what you like)
- 1/2 cup raisins or other chopped dried fruits combined with candied fruits like orange peel
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
- Butter and flour the insides of two loaf pans.
- Melt the butter and mix it with the lemon zest. Set it aside.
- Measure the nuts, then roast them in a pan on the stove for 2-3 minute to develop their aroma. Chop them but not very small.
- Measure the ingredients and set them aside. Sift the flour.
- Place the dried and candied fruits in a little bowl and squeeze the juice from half lemon over them.
- In a clean mixer bowl place the egg whites and the salt. Beat the egg whites to a soft peak.
- Add the sugar, all at once and continue to beat them to a stiff peak, exactly the same way you would beat the egg whites for a meringue. They have to look stiff and glossy.
- Add the rest of the ingrediends all at once.
- Very important! Do not add the dry ingredients one by one. Mixing the egg whites too much makes them lose all the air built by beating them stiff and the recipe will be ruined. Your breads will be dense, small and gummy.
- With large moves and using a spatula, incorporate the ingredients slowly. The easiest way is to move the spatula from underneath to the surface, making sure you touch the bottom and the walls of the bowl.
- Add the rest of the butter and incorporate it slowly making sure you have a pretty homogenous mixture.
- Immediately pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans and level the batter gently.
- Place the pans in the oven and DO NOT OPEN the oven’s door for the first 25 minutes. These breads will bake for about 35-40 minutes.
- If you have an oven that burns in certain areas and you need to move the pans around to make sure they bake everywhere, move them, but only after the first 25 minutes.
- Check the breads with a toothpick in the middle and make sure the toothpick comes out clean and dry. If it comes out sticky and with batter on it, return the breads to the oven and bake them 1-2 minutes more.
- When ready, remove the pans from the oven and let them cool for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes you can remove them from the pans, on a metal rack and allow them to cool completely.
- The easiest way to cut it is using a serrated knife.
- The bread can be frozen up to 3 months for later consumption.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 183 Total Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 5.5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 22mg Sodium: 125mg Carbohydrates: 18.6g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 11.1g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 3.6g