Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Bread

Here is a repost from December 2008. Many of you have asked for the Christmas Bread Recipe.

Happy St. Lucia Day!

I'm sure many of you are saying, "Happy what?" Also known as St. Lucy's Day, December 13th was a Church feast day together with Advent, marking the beginning of the Christmas season. Before the reform of the Gregorian calendar, it also marked the longest night of the year. This is probably the reason why the tradition has lived on in the Scandinavian countries, since the nights in the winter are very dark and long and the idea of light overcoming darkness is appealing.

The meaning of Lucy or Lucia is "light" stemming from the Latin-"lux." In one of the stories associated with her legend, she was working to help Christians hiding in the catacombs. In order to bring with her as much food and drink as possible, she needed to have her hands free. She solved this problem by making a wreath to wear on her head on to which she attached lights. Thus she managed to see in the darkness of the catacombs.

As the tradition goes, the eldest daughter of the family dresses in white and wears a candle wreath while serving a sweet roll and coffee to her parents. Now, for some reason in my family, it was the 2nd daughter. I think Candace served it one year in a white dress with the actual candle wreath, although not lit. Our family typically makes this bread (which we call Christmas Bread) for gifts to family friends and then we also have a loaf for Christmas morning.

This is not really a hard bread to make, but it is quite involved making many dishes dirty and 2 risings. Today I delivered my last batch. That was 16 loaves and I still need to make one for our family to enjoy.

Even if this day has roots in pagan celebrations of the solstice, think again. As you see light this Christmas season, may you remember that it is Jesus that comes to overcome the darkness and illuminate us.
"The light shines in the darkeness and the darkness can never overcome it." John 1:5.

Here is the recipe:

1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. warm water
5 t. of yeast
2 eggs
4 c. flour

2-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
3/4 c. sugar
1/8 t. salt
2 t. vanilla
1 egg

4 T. butter
2 T. milk (maybe more for consistency)
2 t. vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar

Melt butter in the microwave. Add sour cream, sugar and salt to it and stir to luke warm. In a large bowl sprinkle yeast over water and dissolve. Mix in sour cream mixture. Add 2 eggs and flour. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. Or, let rise 1 hour on counter.
Divide dough into quarters, thirds or half depending upon how big you want it. Roll into a rectangle. Spread filling being careful not to get too close to the edges or it will ooze out. Roll into a loaf or a circle, pinch and rise for 1 hour.

Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes. Cool and ice.
This recipe can make up to 4 loaves.


mommaof4wife2r said...

i am licking my lips and saying yumm! but, i will never be able to make i guess you'll just have to send me some :)

Claire said...

Sounds like a breeze. I'll just whip one right up tomorrow or better yet- enjoy the one you made for us! Believe it or not, we haven't eaten it yet and will save it for Christmas morn...we can't wait! You are a domestic goddess and I am so wanting to be a domestic something- at least I am honest!!

Candace Chaney said...

I have embarked on my first Christmas bread endeavor today (even though I had previously sworn it off). I've used egg beaters, light sour cream, SPLENDA, light cream cheese... the only thing I didn't do is use wheat flour. I'll let you know how it turns out.

And PS- thanks for the sweet comment on my blog. You are truly an amazing woman.

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

I'm not Scandinavian, but that sure looks good! I love the legend of St. Lucia. But ... don't you think she might have gotten candle wax dripping in her hair?! ;)

The Richards Family said...

Ok I want to make this.. Do you need a certain flour?? And where can I get yeast? I use to cook with the little packet of yeast in the fridge section.