I’ve got a new Christmas tradition and it’s this bread. I know everybody loves cinnamon rolls, but just look at this thing, it’s an absolute showstopper!  It’s not much more work to make than cinnamon rolls, either, so if you’re looking to jazz things up next year (or whenever – this bread is so good you won’t want to wait for the holidays to make it), try this tasty wreath instead.

Holiday Bread Wreath

Happy holidays, indeed

Holiday Bread Wreath

Adapted from The Kitchn

Dough

Filling

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts and almonds
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  1. Prepare the dough and let it rise in a warm place until double in bulk.
  2. To make the filling, combine cranberries, flour, chopped nuts, and sugar in a bowl until well-mixed. Add the softened butter, one tablespoon at a time, and combine until everything has been incorporated. It’s easiest to do this with your hands, so just mash everything together until it forms soft clumps.
  3. Remove the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch it down and knead just enough to release any air bubbles. Roll the dough into a rectangle, roughly 5×15 inches or any size as long as the length is considerably longer than the width. Crumble the filling over the dough to within 1-inch of the edges. Roll the dough up along the long side and pinch the edges to seal.
  4. Take a sharp knife and cut the roll in half lengthwise. Turn the cut sides up and loosely twist the two halves around each other into a braid, turning the braid in a circle as you go so it makes a wreath. Make sure to keep the cut sides facing upward.
  5. Carefully transfer the braid to a greased and floured baking sheet and shape into a wreath, pinching ends together to seal them. This is kind of tough to do with one person, trying to braid it and turn it and keep the filling from falling out all at the same time, but with a little practice, it’ll get easier. And if you have someone willing to help, that’s even better.
  6. Optional: brush the braided wreath with an egg white glaze to make it extra shiny, taking care not to loosen the filling too much.
  7. Let the finished wreath rise, uncovered, in a warm place until puffy, between 30 to 60 minutes. While the wreath is rising, preheat the oven to 350F.
  8. Bake at 350F for 20 to 30 minutes or until wreath is lightly browned. Wreath is best served warm.
  9. Wreath can be prepared up to 2 days ahead of time. Store the baked and cooled wreath tightly in foil at room temperature and reheat at 350F for 10 to 15 minutes.

This isn’t so much a recipe as it is just an inspiration. Use whatever roll dough you like and add whatever you want to the filling. I made this twice over the holidays and did one version with cranberries and almonds and another version with candied ginger, chocolate, and walnuts. Like all recipes, it’s versatile and customizable, so tinker with it until you’ve got the perfect flavor combination for your palate.

Next year, I think I’ll make lots of small ones and gift them away. There’s really nothing better than a beautiful loaf of bread.

Holiday Bread Wreath

Doughy goodness

Holiday Bread Wreath

And that gorgeous golden color – to die for

Holiday Bread Wreath

For the holidays, or any day, really

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