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Best Christmas bread recipe?

Can anyone suggest a great traditional yeast bread to make for Christmas? I was thinking of panettone, but don't want to buy a special pan.


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  1. I've been very happy baking stollen for about the past ten years.

    You colud get those paper bakers for pannetone - are you making it for yourself or for gifts?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Allstonian

      Myself. But are those papers really necessary? Couldn't I just shape them into a ball?


      1. re: fatfudge

        I haven't made pannetone myself, but I think it's a rather soft dough and would need some container. You could probably get away with a round casserole dish of some kind.

        1. re: Allstonian

          You can bake it in any kind of pan with various side heights. But to get the traditional shape, you'll need a cylinder-shaped pan that is tall enough to shape the sides, but short enough to get that little pouf on top. Paper bags (greased, sturdy ones) would work. We used to use coffee cans, back in the days when we bought our coffee already ground.

    2. I make a Greek Christmas Bread which has walnuts, figs,and raisins and is somewhat sweet. I bake it in ordinary 9 inch round cake pans. It is a yeast bread-relatively easy and very tasty especially toasted! If you are interested I will post the recipe.

      1 Reply
      1. re: emilief

        i would love the recipe for the greek christmas bread! that would be so very appreciated:-)

        1. ditto Stolen.

          sweet, light and yeasty. toasted? oh, boy!

          recipe available if needed.

          4 Replies
          1. re: toodie jane

            Would you mind sharing? I would love to have that recipe. Thanks!

            1. re: Andiereid

              sure. I posted it last year about this time, but looked and couldn't find it today. will post it soon.

              1. re: Andiereid

                found it! I'm no yeastbread baker, but made this after watching a demo and it was not difficult. Results truely rewarding!


                ***please NOTE my following admending post about baking at 400 for 10 MIN, then turning down heat to finish baking. :)

                1. re: toodie jane

                  The stollen I've been making for years is exactly like that with one minor addition: I add a couple of spoons of dry mashed potato flakes, or a small boiled and mashed potato (no seasoning). It makes the crumb of the stollen very soft.


            2. This is called Triestine Bread by Gale Gand. It looks to take a couple of days to make.


              1 Reply
              1. re: yayadave

                I loved this recipe and was considering using it for gifts it sounded so good. I do not have a mixer with a paddle, much more low tech. Do you think it would still be a good choice, if I do it with a milder mixer or my hands?

              2. For panettone you can bake in a well-buttered brown paper bag. It gives it a wonderfully rustic look and, I'm guessing, is probably molto authentico.

                But if you're looking for something that you can form on a cookie sheet and really enjoy, try this:

                Sour Cream Babka
                Recipe By: LA Times Food Section paraphrased by rainey
                Makes two loaves


                • 1 1/2 cup butter, softened
                • 3 cup all purpose flour
                • 3 1/2 cup bread flour
                • 2 packets active dry yeast
                • 1/2 cup sugar
                • 1 teaspoon salt
                • 1/2 cup warm water
                • 1/2 cup milk
                • 1 cup sour cream
                • 2 egg
                • 1 egg yolks
                • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
                • 1 teaspoon vanilla
                • 2 drops lemon oil
                • 2 drops orange oil
                • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract


                • 1/4 cup butter, softened and cut into bits
                • 1 to 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
                • 2 to 3 teaspoon cinnamon
                • 1 1/2 cup walnuts , coasely chopped
                • golden raisins
                • 1 egg
                • 1 egg yolks
                • sugar
                • 2 tablespoon water
                • 2 teaspoon coarse sanding sugar

                Directions paraphrased by rainey:

                Dough: Cobine butter and flours with the dough hook of a stand mixer. When they're well combined they will resemble coarse crumbs.

                Combine remaining dough ingredients. Stir into flour mixture and form a soft dough. Additional flour can be added to achieve a soft but handle-able dough. Knead 5-6 minutes. Put dough in a greased bowl, turn to completely coat the dough and cover. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

                Punch down dough. Divide into 2 portions. On a floured work surface, Roll each into a 14x10 inch rectangle.

                Assembly: Lightly butter each rectangle and sprinkle with remaining filling ingredients. Roll long end up into a jelly roll. Butt ends and press together to form wreaths. **Place each into well-greased tube or angel food pans. If you wish, slash tops to expose filling as the cakes bake.

                Give egg, yolk, a dash of granulated sugar and water a brisk stir to combine. Brush dough with egg wash. Cover lightly with tea towels. Let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Brush again with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

                Place cake pans on a large baking sheet to protect the bottom crusts from overbrowning and bake at 350 degrees until done, about 1 hour. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

                ** Rainey's note: There are a million ways to shape these loaves.

                The wreaths can be formed on parchment and transferred to baking sheets. Slice 2/3 of the way through the wreaths as if you were slicing off cinnamon buns. Roll alternate "slices" left and right.

                The wreaths can be twisted into figure 8's or twisted several time into a "cable". With a very sharp knife, slice into the layers of filling along what would be the top surface of the extended log of dough.

                Smaller portions of dough can be baked in mini loaf pans or corregated paper "pans" or mini brioche cups. Adjust baking time as needed.

                The "King Arthur 200th Anniv. Cookbook" has excellent illustrations of the many possibilities.

                1. We always make a stollen. But ours is different than traditional - no candied fruit. My family's version is plain yeasted bread surrounding a filling of toasted nuts cooked with brown sugar and butter, which is ground, then mixed with a high quality jam. The whole stollen is then glazed with a standard powdered sugar-based glaze. It's soooo good. I can post a recipe if you want when I get home tonight from work.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: celeste

                    oh id love the recipe if you would post it! im trying to make some good gifts to give for christmas and i dont know which bread to make! i definitely want something thats sort of sweet. i was considering a pannetone but ive heard they're difficult and i honestly cant find a recipe that seems too amazing.
                    id love suggestions!