Advent Bread Wreath

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The season of Advent is here; let the celebrating begin! And what a great way to begin, with festive food. I thought it would be fitting to enjoy a bread ring for breakfast each Sunday of Advent.

How To Braid the Bread Wreath
My friend taught this technique to me and my daughter {the recipe is found at the end}. Basically it is a batch of bread dough (your favorite) rolled out and filled with filling ingredients.



Then each side of the bread is cut into strips and is braided.



As you fold ends over, the next piece should overlap the previous one.



When you get to the end, braid the last pieces, cut off the excess, and tuck in to shape.



To place the braided bread on the stone, work in small sections. First place one end on a round stone.



Then turn the stone a bit. Slide a hand under the next section of dough and lift onto stone.



Continue until the entire braid is on the stone. Then overlap the ends to complete.



Brush with an egg wash and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.



Ham and Cheese Bread Wreath
1 c of milk
1/3 c sugar
1 1/2 tbsp yeast
2 eggs, whisked
1/2 c butter, cut into pieces
4-6 c flour
1 lb ham, chopped
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg plus 2 tbsp water, combined for an egg wash

1. Mix milk and sugar in a small saucepan. Add pieces of butter. Heat to about 105 degrees F. If the milk is too hot, the yeast will die and your bread will not rise. If the milk is not warm enough, the yeast will not grow. If you don't have a thermometer, the milk should be like a very warm bath. Remove milk from heat; add yeast and let proof for about 5 minutes. If you do not notice the yeast rising and becoming foamy after 5-10 minutes, the yeast will not make the bread rise and you need to start over.

2. Place milk and yeast mixture in bowl of stand mixer; combine well. Add 2 cups of flour to the milk mix; mix well with the dough hook. Add eggs and stir well to combine. Continue adding more flour a cup at a time and stirring until the dough easily pulls away from the sides. I have used a wooden spoon and my own hands instead of the mixer as well. Place the dough on a well floured surface and knead for a few minutes til dough is smooth. Add flour to keep the dough from being too sticky while kneading. Place the dough in a large greased bowl. Cover with a towel and let sit in a warm place for about an hour til doubled in size.

At this point, to make the dough easier to use, refrigerate for at least an hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Flour your work surface and roll the dough into a long, narrow rectangle about 2 1/2 to 3 feet long by 8 inches wide. Scatter the ham down the middle of the dough and sprinkle with cheese. Cut slits down one of the long sides of the dough, counting as you do. Cut the same number of slits in the other side. Fold the slits of bread over the top of the ham and cheese. This forms your braid. Place braid on a baking stone, working in small sections to keep braid together. Brush with egg wash. Bake in preheated oven for 30~40 minutes.



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4 comments:

  1. Great post! Well explained and beautiful. Our pastor yesterday talked about his trip to Germany a few years ago and how in the little town he stayed in they had a special way to celebrate each week of Advent, a different kind of cookie each week, a living nativity hosted in different family's front yards, and devotionals. I love your different breads idea. What a wonderful way to celebrate Advent.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you; I am looking forward to using different fillings.

    I enjoy getting ideas about making celebrations fresh, but keeping the same. Does that make sense?

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  3. That looks soooooo good! And your Thanksgiving pies look like thier from a Martha Stewart magazine!

    ReplyDelete

Catching my breath. Be back ASAP.