The holidays are just around the corner. Time to get baking!
Let's start with traditional Christmas breads from around the world.
This famous German bread originated in the city of Dresden. Its unusual shape -- characteristic indentation -- was meant to represent the swaddled Christ Child.
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 brushed with clarified butter and rolled in confectioners' sugar.
Its beginnings may be the subject of many charming legends. But there's one undisputed fact about Panettone: it comes from Milan, Italy. It is traditionally a large loaf baked in a round, tall-sided pan. It can be served as a breakfast bread or a dessert.
Scandinavian breads come in fragrant cardamom or saffron-scented braids and rolls.
- Finnish Pulla
- Finnish Nissua
- Norwegian Skolebrod
- Jule Kaga
- Swedish Saffron Buns
- Swedish Tea Ring
- Limpa Bread
Eastern European Breads
Try these Polish, Czech, and Hungarian yeast bread recipes.
- Walnut Poteca
- Rum and Eggnog Kugelhopf
- Czech Christmas Hoska
- Olga's Potica
- Babovka (Poppyseed Rings)
- Hungarian Beigli
Other Holiday Yeast Breads
And last, but certainly not least, cinnamon rolls and other sweet breads.
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. 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 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.