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Web's Best Christmas Braid Bread Recipe

This Christmas Braid Bread is a spicy and fruity and oh so good!

Trivia: Many ethnic groups and many cultures eat braided bread in one form or another.

Christmas Braid Bread Recipe

Ingredients for the Dough

1 packages yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup water, lukewarm
1 cup scalded milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening or butter
2 eggs
4 cups flour
1 cup light Sultana raisins
1/2 teaspoon mace or nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Ingredients for the Topping

1 cup icing sugar
5 teaspoons warm water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
16 red and green maraschino cherries, cut in half (eight each color)
24 whole pecans or similar amount of sliced almonds

Method

Place your yeast, 1 tsp sugar and lukewarm water in a bowl and soak for ten minutes. Add the rest of the sugar, salt and shortening to the scalded milk and allow to cool. Add this to the risen yeast. Add eggs and 3 1/2 cups of flour. Beat about 100 times.

Scrape down the dough, cover the bowl and rise until doubled. This takes about two hours. Punch down the dough and rise again until doubled. Sprinkle the rest of the flour on a kneading board, turn the dough onto it and sprinkle with the raisins, mace and lemon rind. Knead until everything is well distributed. Sprinkle on more flour if you need to.

Next, you shape the braid. Cut your dough into two uneven pieces. One piece should take about 2/3 of the dough; the other uses the rest.

Cut the large piece into thirds and roll each third until it is about 18 inches long. Place these three strips about one inch apart on a buttered baking sheet and braid loosely. Pinch the ends together. Repeat this with the smaller piece of dough, but make the strips smaller. This shorter braid should be about half the size of the first braid. Place it on top of the large braid. Stretch it and pinch the ends to the ends of the first braid.

Glaze by brushing with a mixture of two tablespoons of water mixed with two tablespoons of sugar. Rise until doubled in bulk.

Bake at 350° for fifty minutes, approximately. The Christmas Braid bread should have a golden crust.

While the bread is still warm, drizzle it with icing made of the icing sugar, water and lemon juice. Decorate with the cherries and nuts.

This sweet bread is best if you serve it warm. You can reheat it by wrapping it in foil and placing it in a slow oven (or use the microwave).

This Christmas Braid Bread is a colorful and sweet treat for your holiday breakfasts.


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