I don’t even know how to introduce this recipe! It has been a part of every Christmas that I can remember. The smell of it makes me weak in the knees. It is a beautiful braid of cinnamon-sugary goodness that has been a mystery to me until this year. My Nana asked me to come over and help her bake the Christmas breads for our family, and I was so excited to finally learn how to make it! The recipe that she has is over 30 years old; typed on a typewriter, copied, and handed out at a Relief Society activity.
These are perfect to make and give as gifts!
Who wouldn’t love to receive a beautiful Christmas bread loaf? My little Lola loaf was kept happy by her great-grandpa while I was baking.
Christmas Bread Recipe
Yield – 3 loaves
For the bread:
2 c. scalded milk
4 eggs, room temperature, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
2 packages yeast
1/2 c. butter, melted
7 c. flour (approx.)
1/2 c. warm water
1/2 c. sugar
For the filling:
4 Tablespoons soft butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
For the icing:
1 c. confectioners sugar
1 Tablespoon butter
salt to taste
4 to 5 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Red and green sprinkles
Walnut or pecan halves (optional)
Place milk, eggs, salt, butter, and sugar in a stand mixer bowl. Using the dough hook, mix together. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in the 1/2 cup warm water, then add to the mixer bowl. Add flour in gradually, using only enough flour so that you can handle the dough. Lighter dough makes lighter bread and rolls. Divide dough into three equal portions and work with one at a time.
Roll dough into a 14 x 18 in. rectangle. Cut into three strips. Spread butter down lengthwise center of each strip.
Combine brown sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle over butter. Top with nuts if using.
Bring dough up around filling, sealing edges to form three ropes.
Place on baking sheet and loosely braid. (The trick for me was to remember that each rope moved to the center.)
Let rise until double, about 30 minutes. Bake in moderate oven 350 to 375 degrees for 30 minutes. (Cover with foil for last few minutes if necessary to prevent over-browning.) Combine confectioner’s sugar and enough milk to make a thin glaze. Drizzle over bread while still warm. Sprinkle with red and green sprinkles. You can also put walnuts on top which look pretty, but nobody in my family likes them so we go without. ENJOY!!!