Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Bread in the Morning

Rise and shine – it’s Christmas Day! To welcome the much anticipated feast, I’ve baked two traditional European Christmas breads, which were the precursor of many of our holiday baking traditions. These festive yeast breads resemble cakes and are enriched with butter, eggs, dried fruit and nuts.

Stollen is a German specialty and is often associated with the city of Dresden. My late Aunt Greta would always bake stollen at Christmas to recall the holiday traditions of her German heritage. She taught me how to make stollen and passed along her original recipe, which can be found here. My results are improving. It’s nice to evoke her memory with a thick, buttery slice of stollen on Christmas morning.

Commercially-baked Panettone from Italy is a fixture in the department store food halls this time of year. Panettone means “great big bread loaf” and my first homemade attempt yielded respectable results. I used the panettone recipe from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook, although there are plenty of versions to be found online. Sam at My Carolina Kitchen also offers some interesting tales on the origins of panettone.

In my research, I was intrigued to learn that panettone keeps so well that some households in Milan reserve a quarter of the loaf to be eaten on February 3rd which is the feast of San Biagio, a saint who watches over those with ear aches and sore throats. The panettone is supposed to prevent winter maladies. Truth be told, I don’t think we’ll have any left by February, so I’ll have to rely on my flu shot!
Wishing you a merry day, Peace on Earth and an abundance of fresh bread!
©2010 T.W. Barritt all Rights Reserved

12 comments:

Kathy said...

Merry Christmas T.W. What beautiful breads!

lostpastremembered said...

Panttone also makes a killer bread pudding!!! I think it's interesting that a cake/bread like this exists across so many cultures... like the 12th night cake I'm doing next week or the darker fruit cakes and plum puddings. Your grams recipe looks amazing, and bravo on the panettone. You can say a lot of things about MArtha, but darn, her recipes are great!!! Have a merry happy, TW!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Beautiful breads! I'm thinking immediately of turning them into bread pudding -- gilding the lily a bit, I guess. Enjoy the holidays with your family (especially that adorable niece visiting from afar).

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Merry Christmas, and thank you for another year of visiting one another's kitchens. Were you peeking in? I just blogged my own version of Stollen. Your Stollen is absolutely gorgeous--- puffy and golden. One day, I'm going to make Panettone. Wishing you an abundance of good health and happy baking & cooking for the New Year!

Julia said...

Your breads look beautiful! I especially love pannatone. If I have leftovers, I make croutons for salad.

Hope you had a wonderful holiday, and Happy New Year!

Lisa@ButteryBooks said...

Thank you for the Panettone recipe...it looks delicious!

Stacey Snacks said...

We made our annual christmas panettone bread pudding. Merry christmas T.W.!

tasteofbeirut said...

I love stollen and I adore panettone! I look at these photos and think "why did I not make any?" (I have a cold and was not in the mood, that'swhy!)
Merry Xmas and the best for the new year to you and may you continue to entertain us with your witty prose!

Fresh Local and Best said...

These are two breads that I need to make next Christmas. I've always wondered what fresh panettone would taste like, it must be incredible.

Mary said...

I hope you had a Merry Christmas T.W. Your morning surely got off to a wonderful start. Your breads are gorgeous. I hope you enjoyed the day and can relax the remainder of the week. Blessings...Mary

Velva said...

I am one of the few people in my family that enjoy panttone during the holiday season. I enjoy tearing pieces off throughout the week. I do believe I can eat whole one by myself given a little time. Love it with coffee.

Your stollen? Well, it is simply stunning.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Velva

Sophie said...

MMMMMMM,..those festive Christmas breads look amazing, tasty & lovely too!

Great food!