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Web's Best Recipe Christmas Bread

If you celebrate the holiday season in any way, recipe Christmas bread is a must!
christmas bread recipes
Christmas Cookies, Cakes, Breads. By Jaros & Monte, 2002

Almost all cultures that celebrate Christmas have their own version of Christmas bread. These special breads often contain fruit and spices, and are likely to be baked in interesting shapes.

Trivia: Panetonne, a buttery Italian bread, was invented in 1927 for Christmas time. It is baked in the shape of a cathedral dome, using special pannetone pans, such as the Kaiser Bakeware Classic 7-Inch Panettone Pan

You'll find three recipes for Christmas bread on this page. The first is a quick bread recipe. The second is a braided yeast bread, and the third, also a yeast bread, is a traditional Greek Christmas bread.

Christmas Bread -- a Quick Bread Recipe

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar (first amount)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups stirred flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup candied, mixed fruit-cake fruits
1/2 cup chopped almonds
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar, second amount

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Beat butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs, beating well. With beaters on low, add flour, baking powder, salt, milk and vanilla and almond extracts. Beat until blended. Fold in fruits and nuts.

Prepare 2 loaf pans with double lined and buttered wax paper. Pour the batter into pans and bake for 45 minutes or until done. If you are using a pyrex pan, insert a cookie sheet under pan after 30 minutes. This will protect bottom from overcooking.

Loaf will crack on top. Brush with glaze made of the lemon juice and second amount of sugar. Cool in pan. Remove from pan and chill recipe Christmas bread before slicing.

Recipe Christmas Bread -- Braided, with Yeast

Tip: For best flavor, try grating your own spices using a good tool like the Microplane Professional Fine/Spice Grater.

1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp sugar (first amount)
2 pkgs dry yeast
1 cup scalded milk
Optional but Recommended: Optional but recommended: Bread Dough Enhancer. Use per manufacturer's instructions.
1/2 cup sugar (second amount)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
4 cup sifted flour, divided
1 cup light sultana raisins or chopped dates or mixture of the two
1/2 tsp mace or nutmeg
1 tsp grated lemom rind. Tip: Zesting a lemon is a lot simpler if you have a decent tool. The OXO Good Grips 26781 Lemon Zester is a quality item.

Topping
1 cup icing sugar
t tsp warm water
1 tsp lemon juice
8 red marachino cherries, halved
8 green marachin cherries, halved
whole medium pecans or sliced almonds

Put yeast, first amount of sugar and lukewarm water in bowl and soak for ten minutes. add sugar (second amount), salt and shortening to scalded milk. Cool to lukewarm. Add to risen yeast liquid along with eggs and 3 1/2 cups of flour. Beat.

Scrape sides of bowl, cover and let rise in warm place about two hours, or until doubled. Punch down, cover, and let rise a second time until doubled. Sprinkle kneading board with remaining flour, turn risen dough onto board, and cover with raisins, mace and lemon rind. Knead until all are evenly distributed. Use more flour if required.

Cut dough into two pieces. One piece should be 2/3 of the dough. Cut larger piece into three, and shape each into 18" strips. Place strips about 1" apart on greased baking sheet and braid loosely. Broaden braid at center and pinch ends together. Repeat with smaller piece of dough. Strips will be shorter, so braid will be about half the size of the first.

Place shorter braid in the center of larger braid. Stretch and pinch its ends to the ends of the large braid. Glaze by brushing with mixture of 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp water.

Rise until doubled. Bake in preheated over at 350 F for about 50 minutes or until golden.

While warm, drizzle with icing made of icing sugar, water and lemon juice. Decorate with cherries and nuts. Serve recipe Christmas bread warm. This recipe Christmas bread reheats well.

Recipe Christmas Bread -- Greek Christmas Bread

1 tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cardamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Combine the sugar, cardamom, salt, egg, milk and oil in a large bowl and mix well. Add the yeast mixture, flours, raisins and nuts. Mix well. Add enough extra flour to make soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Shape into a round loaf.

Place the dough into a greased, 8-inch-round cake pan. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled. Bake in a pre-heated 350 F oven 35 to 40 minutes, or until brown.


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Bohemian Christmas Bread

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Christmas Braid Bread

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