A while ago I was invited to take part in the Most Wanted Yule-Blog Bake Challenge, and as I’m always up for a baking challenge I thought I’d have a go. The brief was to bake, photograph and blog something that represents Christmas to you, the only rule being that it has to be a baked good.

To me Christmas is about sharing – gifts, spending time with family and food. There are also a few flavours that always make me think of Christmas, the most prominent being spices. The smell of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and mixed spice immediately conjure up Christmas memories so I decided they had to be a major part of my recipe. I also wanted to incorporate the idea of sharing, so I came up with this sweet, spiced sweet bread Christmas wreath.

This bread is delicious served warm from the oven or toasted and spread with butter. The children also love it for breakfast with jam :) If you fancy having a go at baking this, here’s the recipe.

Ingredients

100ml milk

100ml hot water

50g butter, melted

1 egg

450g strong white bread flour

50g caster sugar

8g sachet fast action dried yeast

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground mixed spice

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground ginger

50g currants

75g sultanas

100g glacé cherries, quartered

Method

I usually use my bread machine to make the dough as I’m lazy, but you could mix up and knead the dough by hand.

  1. Place the liquids, egg, bread flour, yeast, spices and sugar into the pan of your bread machine in the order specified in the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Set the machine to the dough setting and add the dried fruit before the end of the last kneading cycle.
  3. When the dough is ready, remove it from the machine and gently knock it back. Then divide into 3 pieces.
  4. Roll each piece out to form a long sausage shape, then starting from the middle plait the three pieces together. Do the same working in the other direction (you’ll need to plait ‘backwards’!)
  5. Bend the ends round to form a wreath and press to seal them together.
  6. Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes – 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200°C about 15 minutes before you are going to bake your bread.
  8. Brush the wreath with a little milk then bake in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes until it is golden and sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.
  9. Leave to cool, dust with icing sugar and serve.