Ritual breads are featured at every important occasion in Eastern Europe and around the world, especially at Christmas time and Easter. You will find Easter bread recipes from around the world here. But this collection of bread recipes celebrates Christmas around the world.
In Eastern Europe, every major holiday, religious observance or rite of passage is celebrated with a special bread. There are Easter breads, Serbian slava bread, wedding breads and more. They are usually slightly sweet yeast breads and sometimes studded with raisins or other dried or candied fruits. The Eastern European bread recipes presented here are traditionally served at Christmas time.
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Karin Engelbrecht, About.com's Guide to Dutch Food, says, "This recipe for fruited bread with a sweet almond paste center is a real winner for the holidays. I have updated the traditional recipe, using cranberries and orange liqueur instead of the usual raisins, currants and brandy. But please feel free to stick to the traditional version or try this chocolate stol."
Jennifer McGavin, About.com's Guide to German Food, says, "Dresden has the most famous Christmas Stollen, but you can bake your own with little trouble in a few hours' time. Christmas Stollen or Christstollen is full of nuts, raisins and candied fruit. If made a few weeks in advance of serving, it mellows and softens and is very good." You might also enjoy German New Year's Pretzel.
Chelsie Kenyon, About.com's Guide to Mexican Food, says, "This is a great holiday bread shaped in a wreath, with a small Jesus figurine baked right in. While eating the bread, the person who gets the figurine has to provide the tamales for the next party, however everyone else tends to help anyway."
Lisa and Tony Sierra, About.com Guides to Spanish Cooking, say, "Roscon de Reyes is a traditional dessert, served the night before or morning of Reyes or Epiphany, Jan. 6. It is traditional to put several surprises inside the roscon. A porcelain figure of a baby wrapped in foil and a dry bean are hidden in the dough. Whoever finds the baby will have good luck and be the king of the party, but if you find the bean, you pay for the cake!"
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Jen Hoy, About.com's Guide to Whole Foods, says, "This recipe for vegan gingerbread cake is rich and densely flavored with layers of spice and molasses. It’s a family favorite, and is more appropriately termed a whole foods rather than macrobiotic dessert. The cake keeps well, can be frozen, and is lovely plain or with a dessert sauce."