The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ideas for artistic Christmas bread?

Martyn's picture

Ideas for artistic Christmas bread?

By Christmas I will have been baking my own bread for a year, and even if I say so myself, I'm getting quite good :-) So special thanks to all on this forum who have given freely of their help and advice.

I have the idea to make a decorative loaf to be a centre piece for a buffet table over the Christmas period, very much the same idea as having a harvest loaf in the shape of a wheatsheaf or the sun. Has anyone got any ideas or suggestions for such a celebration loaf? I don't want to make a fruit loaf or anything fancy like that 'cos I would want to eat it with left over cold meats, cheese and pickle, etc (in my mind this is the best sort of eating).

Thanks in advance


ehanner's picture

I think I understand what you want to do. You called this project a decorative bread which is usually meant that you don't intend to eat it. They don't have yeast in the mix so it doesn't rise and stays the way you make it and not puffy in the early parts of the creation.

Check out Hamelmans Bread page 226 and forward for some ideas. He shows some interesting braids that are edible. One is a 5 strand braid that is then shaped in a circle as a wreath. It looks like a festive thing. Probably an enriched or brioche bread but it wouldn't have to be.

Do a Google search for Holiday Breads, then check Images. There are hundreds of ideas to get you started.


Cadfael's picture

I think I have just the right recipe for Martyn!

I've been baking it for over 30 years!

I'll try to get it to Martin (and everyone that is interested).

I found it in a 1974 edition of "The Sunset Book of Breads".

Nathan (Cadfael)

Martyn's picture

Cheers Nathan, I would be very grateful. I've seen some amazing looking breads that come from the eastern end of Europe. If you need to contact me directly you can email me at

martynaskew [at] hotmail [dot] com

clazar123's picture

There are many different forms of doing an epi-take a look and see if any of them suit your needs.

Wreaths-sheaf of wheat-grapes and leaves. I did do a french dough with wine as the liquid and then shaped as a standard epi and served it with cheese. It was very good. I just replaced the water with a red table wine. It didn't color the loaf at all but the flavor did come through very subtley since it was a mild wine.

Someone,recently, had a turkey-shaped centerpiece posted with the instructions.I don't know if it was intended to be eaten. As a bread, it didn't appeal-it was more as a scultural piece, I think. Use the search box-it wasn't that long ago.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I like to bake cookies and decorate my advent wreath with fresh fruit and cookies.  It changes looks constantly and never has a chance to get dusty.

vincenttalleu's picture

Hey Martyn,


Best is to make a big loaf and make few decorations on top with a dead dough, it looks good and you can always remove the stuff to later eat the loaf ;)


Here's what I did for this christmas, if that can give you any ideas:


Good luck ;)

vincenttalleu's picture

Forgot to add, the shine is made with melted water/gelatine, put after baking ;)

Martyn's picture

Thankyou all for the suggestions, the internet is a wonderful place :-)

Vincent, I love your bread pictures. I may go with your idea for making decorations to put on a large loaf.