I love making special holiday foods. It makes the house feel warm and cozy, and it's easy to share with friends. Since I've always got sourdough on the counter, I whipped up some Sourdough Christmas Bread that is a real winner!
I called my grandma to get the family recipe for Christmas Stollen. It's not my absolute favourite bread with the citron and candied fruit, but I'm a sucker for tradition. So I took her recipe and streamlined it down for busy families, as usual. It was the perfect base for our preferred fruit and nuts and not much more effort than your regular sourdough bread.
Want more fun breakfast foods? My Cinnamon Buns don't contain eggs, and you can also make some Raisin Bread for toast with jam. For the ultimate brunch spread presentation, I highly recommend taking the time to make Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread!
Why You Need This Recipe
- Freja called this "wonder bread" because it's SO wonderful to eat!
- Not much extra work over your normal bread recipe, so you can have a sweet treat in the busy season!
- Sourdough is easy on our tummies, so it's great for making something special so no one is missing out on holiday favourites.
Sourdough starter - Make sure your starter is active and bubbly and ready for bread baking to achieve enough lift.
Bread flour - I like to use this for the higher protein content to really make sure this bread proofs beautifully.
Dried fruit - Look for options that are unsweetened and without dyes.
Sliced almonds - These are the traditional "cut" used in bread as they are easy to eat.
How to Make Christmas Bread
***See recipe card below for precise measurements and instructions.***
Step 1: Mix starter, sugar, egg, and salt to a large bowl and set aside.
Step 2: Melt butter into the milk in a pan on the stove, and make sure it's no warmer than 110° F so you don't kill the starter.
Step 3: Pour the butter mixture into your mixing bowl of starter, then add half the flour with all the fruit and nuts. Stir, then add remaining flour. Dough will be wet.
Step 4: Let rest for 20-30 minutes before kneading gently with wet hands.
Step 5: Allow to double in size, anywhere from 6 to 10 hours. You can do this overnight.
Step 6: Shape into loaves on a lined baking sheet, then again let double. Remember this takes a while!
Step 7: Slash and bake.
Step 8: Let cool to warm, not hot, before mixing icing and drizzling overtop.
Tips and Tricks
- The dough is wet when you first mix it up because the dried fruit will soak up that excess moisture.
- Freeze without icing if making in advance, then gently reheat in the oven before adding icing when it's time to serve.
- Give yourself lots of time for proofing. The second time always takes much longer than you think, especially when it's not plain bread and has the added weight of the fruit and nuts.
Use any fruit you like, whether it's raisins, figs, cranberries, apricots. If you use larger fruits just dice them up to raisin size. You can use any nuts, thought almonds are traditional and slices are easy to eat. Slivered will also work here.
Friends, a scale is an amazing kitchen investment. It saves you from washing all those pesky measuring cups. It's also way more accurate, because even if you scoop flour the correct way, a cup by volume can have extreme weight differences from person to person. Simply add one ingredient and tare your scale before adding the next. I promise you'll fall in love with this method!
I like the icing as a fun treat, but you can leave it off if you like. Serve with butter or a light jam. Toast it up and serve next to eggs. Add cinnamon sugar on your butter. It's just so much fun to have a family meal and I hope making special baked goodies becomes a new tradition!
photos by Kiara Colebank
More Sourdough Recipes
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Sourdough Christmas Bread
- 225 grams active sourdough starter
- 50 grams sugar
- 1 egg
- 8 g salt
- ½ teaspoon pure almond extract optional
- 50 grams melted butter or oil
- 150 grams warm milk
- 280 grams bread flour
- 100 grams chopped dried fruit
- 50 grams sliced almonds
- ½ cup icing sugar
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Mix starter, sugar, egg, and salt in a bowl, set aside. Melt butter in a pan then add milk and warm until 100-110°F.
- Add milk to bowl of starter. Add half the flour, then dried fruit and nuts, and mix well.
- Add remaining flour. Dough will be sticky/wet right now, don't be alarmed. The dried fruit will soak up excess moisture.
- Let rest for 20-3o minutes before kneading gently with wet hands.
- Let rise until doubled, about 6-10 hours, and then shape into two logs and place on a lined baking sheet.
- Let rise until about 1.5x original size, which will take a few hours. It always takes longer than you think to rise the second time, especially with mix-ins.
- Slash the loaves and bake at 375°F for 20 minutes. Rotate the tray and bake another 20 minutes or until it's gently browned and internal temp with an instant read thermometer says 180°F or higher.
- Let cool until just warm, then mix up your icing. You want it to be nice and thick but still pourable. Drizzle it all over, slice, and enjoy!
- Make sure the bread is just warm, not hot, or the icing will slide right off. Drizzle the icing while the bread is on the parchment for easy cleanup.
- If you want to freeze the bread, let cool completely before wrapping well. Do not add icing until thawed and ready to serve.
- Switch up the dried fruits to your favorites.