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Best Christmas Breads From Around The World

One of the best parts of Christmas is the aroma of baked goods fresh from the oven, ready to be shared with family and friends as you get together to celebrate the holidays. And we're not just talking about cookies--although we think you should definitely bake Christmas cookies. No, what we have in mind are Christmas breads from all over the world, reflecting time-honored baking traditions handed down from generation to generation.

These Christmas breads are often rich with butter, eggs, dried fruits, citrus, and nuts. They can be fragrant with holiday spices like cinnamon and cardamom. And they owe their airy texture to the lifting power of yeast. 

Here are several of our favorite Christmas breads from around the world. Which ones will you make this year?

Italian Christmas Bread: Panettone

This rich, sweet egg bread, stuffed w comes from Milan, Italy. You can bake it as a large loaf in a round, tall-sided pan or in paper panettone forms (as seen below), and enjoy it as a breakfast bread or a dessert. Slice leftover panettone to make decadent French toast or cube and bake it into comforting bread pudding.

Orange and Saffron Panettone
Try this recipe Orange and Saffron Panettone | Photo by FrancesC.

 

More panettone recipes to try:

Related: Get tips for baking yeast breads in a bread machine.

Scandinavian Christmas Breads

Scandinavian breads from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland are often rich and sweet, fragrant with cardamom and cinnamon, and braided before baking.

Finnish Pulla
Get this recipe: Finnish Pulla | Photo by Melissajean

 

More Scandinavian Christmas bread recipes to try:

German Christmas Bread: Stollen

This famous German bread originated in the city of Dresden. Stollen is made from a very rich but not overly sweet dough, studded with candied fruits and nuts, and sometimes includes a ribbon of marzipan down the center. The finished loaf is sometimes brushed with clarified butter and rolled in confectioners' sugar.

Christmas Stollen
Get this recipe: Christmas Stollen | Photo by Rachel

 

More German stollen recipes to try:

Eastern European Christmas Breads

Try these special Polish, Czech, and Hungarian Christmas yeast bread recipes.

Old World Poppy Seed Roll
Get this recipe: Old World Poppy Seed Roll | Photo by Jessica.nemec

 

More Eastern European Christmas breads to try:

Other Holiday Yeast Breads

And last, but certainly not least, cinnamon rolls and other sweet breads.

Ooey-Gooey Cinnamon Buns
Get this recipe: Oooey-Gooey Cinnamon Buns | Photo by foodelicious

 

More international Christmas breads to try:

Yeast Bread Baking Tips

Because most holiday breads are enriched with butter, eggs, nuts, and dried fruits, they will take far longer to rise than leaner doughs. Don't rush the process: they can take several hours to rise properly. To help things along a bit, set a pan of hot water in the bottom of your oven and place the loaves in the oven to rise. If you have a very low oven setting (no hotter than 100 degrees F), you can turn on the heat. Otherwise, refresh the hot water periodically to create a warm, steamy environment.

Let baked breads cool thoroughly before wrapping or slicing.

Unlike fruitcakes or quick breads, yeast breads tend to dry out quickly. They can be frozen for up to two months, well-wrapped in foil and plastic freezer bags. Thaw, still wrapped in foil, at room temperature for two to three hours.

To refresh breads, bake the foil-wrapped loaves in a moderate (350 degrees F) oven for ten to fifteen minutes.


Browse our entire collection of Christmas breads and Christmas baking recipes.


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