Braided Wreath Bread
I make this attractive bread to celebrate Santa Lucia Day on December 13. This Swedish custom is the symbolic start of Christmas in Scandinavia, a festival of lights that brightens the short, dark days of winter. I position seven birthday candle holders in my braided loaf before adding candles to prevent wax from melting on top of the bread.
Total TimePrep: 30 min. + rising Bake: 30 min. + cooling
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1/3 cup warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, cubed
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
- 2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, butter, 1 egg, orange zest, salt, extract and 1 cup flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down; divide into thirds. Roll each portion into a 20-in. rope. Braid the ropes; shape into a wreath and pinch ends to seal. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- For glaze, beat egg; lightly brush over dough. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool.
Nutrition Facts1 slice: 164 calories, 5g fat (3g saturated fat), 47mg cholesterol, 152mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.
Originally published as Santa Lucia Wreath Bread in Country Woman Christmas 2006