The baker where I used to work shared this recipe, but it originally comes from The Twelve Teas of Christmas by Emilie Barnes.
Since homemade bread doesn’t stay fresh long, I like to halve this recipe or keep one tree and share the other.
This is a great breakfast treat on Christmas morning, good for holiday brunches, or just a fun snack.
Christmas Tree Bread
from The Twelve Teas of Christmas by Emilie Barnes
This recipe makes two trees. It can be halved if needed.
2 packages active dry yeast
½ c warm water
1 ¼ c buttermilk
½ c sugar
2 t baking powder
2 t salt
5 ½ c flour
½ c butter, softened
For icing (two trees)
2 c powdered sugar
2-3 T milk
1 t vanilla
(icing can be tinted with food coloring)
Dissolve yeast in warm water in large mixing bowl. Add buttermilk, sugar, butter, eggs, baking powder, salt, and 2 ½ cups of flour. Beat on low speed, scraping the bowl constantly, for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, for 2 minutes.
Stir in remaining flour. Dough will be soft and slightly sticky. (If dough is not coming together, add a small amount of flour and mix.) Turn dough onto a well-floured surface, knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Divide dough in half to form two trees. Shape each half into 18 balls. Form tree shape with balls in rows of 5, 4, 3, 3, 1 on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Roll remaining two balls together for trunk of tree. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.
Bake at 350 until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet carefully and cool.
Mix powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla together. More milk can be added if icing is stiff. Decorate the trees with icing. Trim with candied fruit, nuts, sprinkles, etc.
In addition to getting your mise en place together, don't forget to allow for the time it takes to make homemade bread. It ain't quick!
Start with the yeast. Don't be afraid; they're tiny. You can take 'em!
Add the ingredients to the bowl, but only part of the flour. beat on low for 30 sec. Beat on medium for 2 min. Scrape the bowl as you go. Add the remainder of the flour and mix.
Place dough on a floured surface and knead for 5 min. Make the kids do this. They'll love it.
Form 18 balls per tree. Here, I made half a recipe, or one tree. I'm neurotic about things being as even as possible, so this is how I divide the dough to form the balls. It bugs me that the pictures here aren't uniform. I have issues.
Form a tree with the 18 balls as recipe indicates. Use two balls to form the trunk. Allow to rise, covered so the dough doesn't dry out, for an hour (or more).
While the bread cools, get the decorating gear in order. Personally, I think the amount of icing in the recipe is way too much. Mix the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla together, adding more milk if needed.
Decorating possibilities are endless. Here, I tinted some of the icing green, some yellow, left some white, and used some peppermint baking chips I had sitting around. Great way to use up the extra sprinkles and things you have leftover from all those Christmas cookies.
Food On Friday: Christmas Favorites @ Carole's Chatter