The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A Bread for all Occasions

hedera helix's picture
hedera helix

A Bread for all Occasions

Some friends are getting married soon, and have said they don't want gifts in the usual way - ie no cut glass bowls and fondue sets etc - but if people really want to give them something then it should be something hand made, made with love and as a special unique thing. I think this is a lovely idea, and so obviously, I want to make a special bread (or two) for them.

As one of the bethrothed is Jewish, I am thinking of making Challah, which I have made a few times before, and enjoy making, but I was wondering if anyone knows of any special breads specifically associated with weddings?

Leading on from that, I think it would be really interesting to get a list of breads associated with special days of other sorts, so that we can all think about making bead for others as the occasion demands. An example is the King's Bread (Roscon de Reyes in Spanish), a crown shaped ring decorated with candied and glaced fruits and almonds, given as gifts in Spain on the Twelth Night.

Home made bread is such a wonderful gift I think, so personal. I once gave a bog standard wholemeal loaf to my sister, and her 3 year old son kept coming back for more of it, ignoring all the other food on the table - the best compliment I have ever had.

So, come on then, let's have your ideas. What bread for what occasion?

weavershouse's picture

It's not a holiday but when the moon is full I make my loaves round. The grandkids love it but they would prefer round cookies.                                      weavershouse

breadnerd's picture

I love giving bread for a gift...Your story reminded me, I baked a 100% WW bread for my parents (who keep going on Atkins, sigh!) and made a bunch of baguettes for the rest of the family--and my neices snatched up all the WW bread as soon as I sliced it! :)

For the wedding: I have instructions somewhere for a very elaborate star braid for challah, that might be fun. I made it years ago before I knew about things like parchment paper, ha ha, so mine turned out kind of oddly shaped to fit on a cookie sheet.

Hmm, other ideas....there's a greek easter bread that's really good, and stollen at christmastime, irish soda bread. Also an idea is seasonal breads to go with what people are eating at the time of year--Italian breads to go with tomato/basil season (ciabatta, foccacia), breads to dip in winter stews or that use winter produce like squash or potatoes.

hedera helix's picture
hedera helix

If you can dig out the instructions for the star braid that would be really good. I'm not the best at braiding though so I guess I'll have to make one for myself first, just to practice ;^) Ho Hum!

breadnerd's picture

These are attempts to snap photos of pages from this booK:

The Professional Pastry Chef, by Bo Friberg


Here's the final loaf:

And instructions:


Technical details: It's 2.5 pounds of challah dough: Divide into 16 - 2.5 ounce pieces and roll 12 into 12 inch strings for the star, and the the last 4 are rolled into 30 inch lengths to make the center ball. He says to let rise at the end until slighly less than doubled, and bake at 375 for about 40 minutes. It's brushed with an egg wash for the shine as well.

It's a bit complicated, but I bet you could take the idea and make a slightly simpler version. It would be fun to try, anyway, ha ha. :) Good luck


- breadnerd


hedera helix's picture
hedera helix

That looks absolutely stunning, I'll be trying that tomorrow - If I can get that right, that is the perfect answer to my question. Thanks so much for digging that out. If I have any success, I'll post the pics up here for your entertainment (maybe the entertainment value is better if I have very little success, I don't know).

Thanks again.

susanfnp's picture

How about Panettone for Christmas, and King's Cake for Mardi Gras?


granniero's picture

granniero   I found a great deal on 3 books at my local used book store. 1 is"    Baking Bread-Old and New Traditions" by Beth Hensperger. She has a chapter on celebrations bread such as stollen,panettone,Christmas and easter breads,and others,with a paragraph or so about the traditions associated with each. Good reading and recipes.Same author, "Bread for All Seasons" has more of the same,also interesting. Love the used book store,also picked up Crust and Crumb.

I make breads to give away at the holidays and year round for no special reason. A nice loaf of fresh bread made with love makes anyone feel special.

Happy baking.

Chausiubao's picture

I think I would just make something stuffed with whatever represents them the most! Or whatever they'd appreciate the most; something super memorable.

 But it does have to be spectacular and luxurious I think, if its for a wedding. 

manuela's picture

on King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook among several festival breads they describe a wedding bread shaped like the infinity symbol, a figure eight lying on its side.

I have seen others shaped like two intertwined circles (like intertwined wedding rings). It's usually a sweet dough with eggs so Challah would be ideal since it keeps its shape so well. 

Cooky's picture

At the holdays last year, I made challah with bits of dried fruit as hostess gifts, and it was a big hit. I used my standard challah recipe and added dried cranberries, dried papaya and golden raisins that had been soaked overnight in brandy. I poured off the excess liquid, of course. You could use fruit juice or wine instead of brandy, I'm sure. 


"I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

mkelly27's picture

Somewhere along the line I have read about "money" being baked into bread and the bread  presented to the Bride and Groom to break it open and reap the rewards.  Was I dreaming all of this? 


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