I am so happy I scribbled this recipe down because now it is gone, forever lost in the world wind of moves and life. My mom started baking this wreath bread in the early 90’s, maybe even the 80’s; the recipe came from a little green book that we can no longer find. I scribbled it down in 2007 on the back of a piece a paper hosting football picks and I still reference that paper when baking it today. During the holidays I can easily make this bread three to four times. I always do a practice bake in October (wink wink) and I usually make this one or two more times during the year because it is so yummy! You are going to love this and so will your family; it is a bread that our family looks forward to every year. Seriously, I am not allowed to celebrate Christmas without it.
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Makes 1 fabulous wreath.
- 6 1/4 – 6 1/2 cups bread flour plus additional for kneading
- 1/2 cup + 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp cardamom
- 4 1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (100 – 110 F)
- 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp milk
- 1/2 cup butter
- 4 eggs
Have a 14 inch round pan at the ready either greased, or lined with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.
Warm up 1/2 cup water to about 100 – 110° F; stir in yeast and 2 tsp sugar and allow to proof for 10 minutes. The yeast is active if the mixture doubles.
In a large bowl combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and cardamom; blend well.
In a small sauce pan bring milk and butter to about 120 – 130° F. Be careful not to boil as it will kill the yeast if it is too hot.
Add warm milk and butter to the dry ingredients. Add 3 eggs and the proofed yeast to dry ingredients; stir well. Stir in additional 4 1/4 – 4 1/2 cups of flour until dough pulls cleanly from the sides. It is at this point I am usually using my hands. Tip dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Place dough in a large, buttered bowl. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel. Let it rise in a warm area for about 1.5 hours until two times its size.
Punch down dough to remove air bubbles. Tip dough on work surface and divide it in half. Shape each half into a ball; cover with a tea towel and allow them to rest for 15 minutes.
Heat the oven at 350° F. Roll out each ball into a 45 inch rope; twist together and shape into a wreath. Place wreath on baking pan and cover again to allow it to rise for 1 hour.
Combine 1 egg and 1 tbsp milk and brush on the bread before placing in the oven. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until golden brown. At any time the bread starts to get too brown cover with foil or parchment until bread is baked through.
Allow bread to cool and then apply the glaze. Glaze: Combine 3/4 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla and anywhere from 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 tsp milk to desire consistency. Drizzle on as much glaze as you like. Enjoy!
Green in the Kitchen
I try my best to be as green as possible in the kitchen using organic ingredients and using tools that can be handed down through the generations and/or are sustainably made. I am always on the lookout for products that support this vision. Though not perfect I still have tools that are not completely in line with this vision; however, I look forward to taking great care of them and using them as long as possible so they stay out of landfills. Once they have reached their end of life I look forward to introducing an eco-friendly version to the home. I also look forward to sharing with you what can be composted from each dish so less food waste is sent to landfills. If you have an opportunity to use the unused portions of ingredients in another dish all the better but if you don’t have plans for… let’s say, that whole head of lettuce YOU CAN COMPOST IT!
What Can Be Composted From This Dish?
Eggshells! Eggshells provide calcium which helps plants build cell walls. I crush my eggshells so they break down quicker but you definitely do not have to; whole shells work too.