There is no doubt that the holidays are a time for baking, baking and more baking! From Christmas cookies to cupcakes that are decorated with red and green frosting galore, there is always something delicious to bake around this time of the year. Whether it’s a tradition to make cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning or if you were inspired by The Great British Baking Show and want to experiment in the kitchen, this is the best time of the year to get in the kitchen and whip up some beautiful Christmas bread.
Christmas breads are often more decorative and have celebratory qualities to them, such as the Bulgarian Christmas Bread that symbolizes prosperity for the upcoming year. Other classic Christmas breads from around the world include Panettone or Stollen which are filled with fruits and nuts. Whatever type of bread that you like, you can’t go wrong with the ones we have listed below! Alternatively, if you have your hands full this holiday season but still want to enjoy a warm, fresh loaf of bread, you can add one of these bread makers to your wish list. Just add the ingredients to the machine, and a few hours later you will have a freshly baked loaf.
However you spend the holidays this year, don’t forget the bread!
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This butter-brushed and sugar-dusted classic German loaf is made 3-4 weeks before serving so it has time to develop its balanced flavor. A good stollen should have a consistency similar to quick bread or biscuits, says Julia Foerster, the blogger behind Plated Cravings.
Foerster grew up in a small village in northern Bavaria, where her paternal grandparents would dole out stollen as Christmas gifts. She recommends making the bread from scratch because the dessert lasts “forever” — she once forgot about a loaf she’d baked, and upon discovering it months later, it was still flavorful.
Get the recipe at Plated Cravings.
Buñuelos are a popular Christmas bread that you’ll find in Colombia. However, according to food blogger Erica Dinho, these can also be enjoyed all year round with a hot cup of chocolate or coffee.
Although Colombian buñuelos are traditionally made with queso costeña, Erica makes these with feta and queso fresco which have a similar saltiness. You won’t regret making these, especially when you have them with natilla, a Colombia custard.
Get the recipe at My Colombian Recipes.
Krendel Christmas Bread
Make this tasty Russian Christmas bread that has a soft, fragrant dough with a delicious filling of pears, apricots, apples and more!
The author of this recipe suggests that you allow enough time to let the dough rise before baking. It’s an important step that you don’t want to rush, or else you may be left with a dense loaf. If your kitchen is cooler, you may need more time for it to properly rise.
Get the recipe at Chain Baker.
Bulgarian Christmas Bread
This loaf of bread is meant to symbolize and celebrate Earth’s abundant gifts and bring in a prosperous year. It’s decorated with flowers, ears of wheat and even has a token hidden inside.
Although you have to shape and attach separate pieces of dough to this loaf, the author of this recipe noted that it was surprisingly easy to do. So, what are you ready for? It’s time to create a beautiful Bulgarian Christmas bread this year!
Get the recipe at Seasons & Suppers.
Make sure to include this sweet Bobalki bread on the Christmas table this year! You’ll be loving the honey and poppy seed glaze that coats each bun — the perfect amount of sweetness for each bite!
Get the recipe at Chain Baker.
Swedish Coffee Bread (Tea Ring)
If you love cardamom, then this bread is for you! Cardamom is the star of the show here but there are other winners that make this bread complete; like cinnamon and sugar, raisins and sliced almonds. You won’t regret making this come Christmastime, especially accompanied with a hot cup of coffee or tea.
Get the recipe from Simply Recipes.
Good Panettone is practically a religion in Italy. Originating in Milan, the traditional version can take three days to make, according to food blogger Rosemary Molloy. But Molloy’s sped-up version makes it easy. One of her top tips is to double-check the temperature of the water you add to the dough. Go too hot, and you’ll kill the yeast, but go too cold, and your dough won’t rise.
The fruit- or chocolate-filled sweet bread takes a tall, domed shape and is best served when soft. Molloy’s recipe, in particular, needs no glaze, but she does recommend a cup of espresso to pair it with.
Get the recipe at An Italian in My Kitchen.
Rosca de Reyes
Rosca de reyes, or Three Kings Bread, is a ring-shaped bread baked to celebrate the Epiphany on January 6. Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack of Muy Bueno says this bread is often decorated with “jewels” — usually colorful candied fruits — to symbolize a crown. A baby figurine is typically tucked somewhere inside the loaf (not unlike Mardi Gras King Cake).
Learning from her grandmother who was born in Mexico, Marquez-Sharpnack honors her Tejana upbringing by teaching her children techniques for a good Rosca: checking that the dry yeast is active and using a long rolling pin — one passed down through her family.
Get the recipe at Muy Bueno.
Christopsomo translates to “Christ’s bread” in Greek, so it’s no wonder the traditional bread is adorned with the shape of a cross. Often sweetened with sugar or honey and mixed with raisins and walnuts, the dough serves as an offering to Christ.
Katerina Sakelliou, creator of Katerina’s Kouzina, grew up working in her parents’ restaurant on the rural Greek island of Poros, and some of the earliest recipes she remembers making are Christmas ones. She says you can’t have Christmas without Christopsomo — it would be considered bad luck in Greece. Her recipe is simple and straightforward, but keep one tip in mind: When you’re pulling the loaf out of the oven, check that it’s not too heavy, Sakelliou advises. You know you’ve got it right when it sounds “hollow” as you knock against the crust.
Get the recipe at Katerina’s Kouzina.
Cozonac cu Nuca
A soft roll that requires lots of kneading, Cozonac cu Nuca is a bit like Romania’s version of panettone, explains Jo Cismaru, baker and writer of Jo Cooks. Raisins and walnut paste add an extra burst of sweetness without overpowering the delicacy.
Born in the Transylvania region of Romania, Cismaru got her decades-old Cozonac cu Nuca recipe from her mother-in-law, who taught her kids, grandkids and great-grandchildren how to master the dish. Her recipe, which Cismaru replicated on the blog, makes three large loaves, so there’s more than enough to go around.
Get the recipe at Jo Cooks.
Vánočka is a sweet, braided, fruit-filled bread that’s meant to loosely resemble the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes, says Kristyna Koutna, creator of The Czech Cookbook.
She loves not only the taste of the golden loaf but also the customs behind it — Czech women who baked vánočka would jump up and down while the bread was baking to encourage the dough to rise. Koutna’s family spreads unsalted butter over the warm bread, and she recommends sprinkling the top with almonds to truly align with Czech tradition.
Get the recipe and video instructions at The Czech Cookbook.
Southern Yeast Rolls
Growing up, food blogger Eden Westbrook’s mother always had Sister Schubert yeast rolls in the freezer. But when Westbrook married her high school sweetheart, they had entered the military and needed to live off $100 a month for groceries. A self-described “stickler” for traditions, she decided to tweak the classic recipe, and her take on the nostalgic rolls taste just like the real thing. What Southern comfort Christmas table would be complete without those soft, butter-slathered, pull-apart rolls?
Westbrook’s, in particular, are perfect for the holidays because they’re no-knead and unfussy. All she recommends for equipment are a pair of biscuit cutters and a good rolling pin.
Get the recipe at Sweet Tea & Thyme.
Challah is a traditional Jewish bread, braided, eggy, and slightly sweet. Served during most major Jewish holidays, a challah loaf is intensely symbolic.
Amy Kritzer, the blogger behind What Jew Wanna Eat, says a good challah should be light and fluffy with a golden crust. After making challah for the first time in Sunday School, she’s since mastered the technique and developed her own spins on the classic, including matcha challah, latkes-stuffed challah, and a rainbow challah that she served at her own wedding. She throws in a fun tip, too: If your challah doesn’t turn out perfect, don’t waste it — turn it into French toast instead.
Get the recipe at What Jew Wanna Eat.
Chai-Spiced Tea Loaves
If you’ve ever watched (or maybe obsessed over) the Great British Bake-Off, you know a good tea loaf is hard to beat. Tea loaves are an old English favorite, typically made with spices or fruits, which offer the same cozy, stomach-warming flavor as a piping cup of tea.
This bread is the perfect mingling of sweet and spice, and the loaves can be frozen for up to three months to be thawed and gift-wrapped for the holidays.
Get the recipe at Delish.
Looking for a quicker fix for an otherwise laborious bake? Try this super-simplified version of stollen. Like traditional stollen, this version is loaded with fruit but skips some of the rum- and butter-soaking that adds precious minutes to stollen.
These treats won’t last quite as long as the real thing, but they’ll keep in freezer bags for at least a month, so they’re good to have on hand when the relatives come to stay.
Get the recipe at Delish.
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