Holiday bambino bread

Looking for something special to make this Christmas? Try this bread recipe, shaped to resemble Jesus in swaddling clothes.

  • 2 cups lukewarm milk
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5¾ to 6½ cups of all-purpose flour
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, sprinkle yeast over milk and stir to dissolve. Let stand for 5 minutes to develop.
  2. Add in sugar, egg, butter, and salt and mix well. One cup at a time, add 5 cups of flour and beat thoroughly after each addition until flour is incorporated. Add enough of remaining flour to make a soft dough that is slightly sticky.
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding small amounts of flour as necessary to keep dough manageable. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes, until dough is smooth and satiny.
  4. Lightly oil the surface of the dough and place it back into rinsed bowl and cover with a clean, dry towel. Allow to rise in a warm place free from drafts until doubled, about 60 minutes.
  5. Punch dough down and divide in half (one for each bread).
  6. Roll each half of the dough into a rope about 24 inches long, and form the braid as illustrated.
  7. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet; cover with a clean, dry towel and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled.
  8. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes.

Father Dominic Garramone, OSB, is a Benedictine priest at Saint Bede Abbey in Peru, Illinois. His latest book is ‘Tis The Season To Be Baking (Reedy Press).

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