Holiday Wreath Bread!

wreath bread

Tis the season for all things festive! This holiday wreath bread is a very simple loaf that is gorgeous and will be the perfect addition to your holiday meal. Despite its impressive appearance we promise it is easy to make. Check out the video from WMAR Channel 2 in Baltimore (the ABC affiliate) for a demo (click here to view).

Now for the Holiday Wreath Bread, and some Holiday gift suggestions:

Pan D’epi

Start by sprinkling the surface of your dough as it sits in the bucket with flour so it won’t stick to your hands. Master dough with or without herbs (page 25-31), European Peasant dough (page 46), really any dough will work.

Pan D’epi

Pull up the amount you want and

Pan D’epi

cut with a pair of kitchen scissors or a serrated knife a 1-pound piece of dough.

Pan D’epi

Sprinkle with more flour so the cut edges won’t be too sticky,

Pan D’epi

quickly form into a loose ball. This should take about 30 seconds.

wreath bread

Preheat oven to 450° with a baking stone in the center of the oven. Stretch the dough into a ring and allow to rest on a sheet of parchment paper for about 30 minutes.

wreath bread

Right before baking sprinkle the dough with flour. Using kitchen scissors snip at a sharp angle and almost to the bottom of the ring to form points. This is just like the Epi loaf.

wreath bread

Lay the points out away from the ring. Slide the ring and the parchment paper right onto the baking stone and bake for 25-30 minutes or until deep caramel brown.

wreath bread

Happy Holidays! Did someone say “Holiday Gift Ideas?”  Since so many of you have asked about the essentials for baking bread with our method, we decided to list them here as Amazon links (they’re also available in the Amazon “widget” to the left):

A Baking Stone, we like the ones that are a half-inch thick

A Pizza Peel, to slide free-form loves into the oven

An Oven Thermometer, to check if temperature is correct in your oven

A Dough Storage Bucket

…and of course, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (if they don’t already have it)!

Those are the essentials.  If you think of any others, please ask and we’ll find them!

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79 thoughts on “Holiday Wreath Bread!

  1. That. Is. Gorgeous! And you’re right, it looks so simple! I’ll be baking my first loaf of your bread tonight, and I cannot wait to taste it!

  2. Oh man, it’s like a circle of pain d’epi! I made an entire batch of epi (4!) for Thanksgiving, it was a huge hit – maybe I’ll make it in a circle for Christmas 🙂

  3. I’ve tried baking with parchment paper but 2 things happen to me 1) it burns/smokesalot and 2) somehow the moisture in the bread makes the paper adhere to the bread permenantly. It’s been disasterous- an thoughts?

  4. Zoe, your tricks of the trade are priceless, matched only by your willingness to share them with us and show us how to create something impressive with an easy technique. I *love* learning new spins on your breads, especially those which are merely a change in form. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  5. Thank you all for the wonderful notes! I’m so glad you are excited about the wreath, it is so much fun to make and is a lovely crusty loaf!

    Cheers! Zoë

  6. Hi PJ,

    I think it is the type of parchment that you are using. It must have some kind of a coating on it. Make sure that it isn’t wax paper, which is an entirely different beast. I have tried using the “parchment” rounds that I buy at cake supply stores and it does the same thing that you are describing. I’m certain that parchment is coated with something, but I’m not sure what???

    Try another brand, once you get a good one you will love it!

    Thanks, Zoë

  7. These are so beautiful that I had to try them myself straight away. They are as simple to make as you promise and look so wonderful. I have posted on my blog about them and I hope you don’t mind, as I linked to you from my post.

  8. Your book is on my gift giving list AND for those in my circle who receive a card from us are also receiving a newsletter with news of your amazing book, recipes etc along with the internet links!

    I will be making your wreaths for the potluck lunch at our school next week.

    Thank you so much for your generous share of techniques etc. You are both so kind!

  9. Thanks Zoe and Jeff- I will try another brand and be mindful to look for a silicone treated one. I SO appreciate your book and the bread- as does my wife!

  10. wow! this bread looks amazing, and given my recent fanatics with no-knead bread, I think I’m just gearing up for a challenge like this. But I have a question… is granulated yeast the same thing as the breadmachine yeast by fleishmann’s? That’s what I have for the no-knead bread, and before I wasted a bunch of flour, I want to make sure…
    Thanks, and I can’t wait to read and bake some of your recipes…

  11. Hi Glaucia,

    Thank you for stopping by! Yes, you can use your bread machine yeast. We have found that it doesn’t really make a difference what kind of yeast you use in our dough, they are work equally well!



  12. I recently tried the Master Boule Loaf recipe that I found in a magazine and loved it! I just ordered the book and I am so excited about it. What you have done is amazing! Thank you!!

  13. hey zoe

    I just tried the bread and it was great. I made the dough late last night, and made bread this morning. There’s just nothing better than fresh bread in the morning.
    It didn’t rise much, but I think I handled it too much and deflated the gasses. But I think I know what to do different next. I hope I get the book for Christmas; if not, I will go and by one the day after! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your knowledge so freely.

  14. Wow! I made this for breakfast yesterday from 8 day old master recipe and we (two of us!) ate the whole thing!! Crusty rolls with butter and preserves – I was in bread nirvana. It was perfection. I have had your book for about a month and bake fresh bread 3 or 4 times a week. I am giving several books as holiday gifts.

  15. Am making my first loaf today and looking forward to seeing what happens with it at nearly 6,500 ft. altitude. We are almost 0 degrees today so turkey vegetable soup with crusty bread sound great to me.

  16. That is just gorgeous. I have been using the basic recipe for communion bread – I think I’ll use this as a decoration as well as eating it…

  17. Weepy isn’t a big deal. I can’t say why it’s suddenly different, but the bread should turn out fine. If it’s too loose you can work in a little flour after pouring off the fluid, which is often dark-colored but does not signify mold (then let it sit at room temp for a couple of hours).

    But you don’t need to do that if the dough is basically still about the same consistency, except with a little fluid collecting on top. Jeff

  18. My wife was watching KARE 11 and thought while Zoe was talking about the Master dough and producing the Holiday Wreathe Bread, that eggs/egg were put in it and that was the thing that limited it’s refridgerator life to 2 weeks. I haven’t been able to find any reference to such an ingredient. Did she not hear or see correctly? Thanks – Darryl

  19. Darryl: There are no eggs in the Master Dough; that’s why it stores for up to 14 days. Enriched recipes in our book (ones with eggs) should only be refrigerated for 5 days. Then they go into the freezer. You could make a wreath bread out of enriched dough too, that’s probably what got confusing. Jeff

  20. So ironic you should be talking about the wreaths for I have been experimenting with them myself! I have a luncheon tomorrow so I added raisins and nutmeg to the enriched Brioche dough recipe (which is totally worth buying the book for alone!!!)

    I made the wreaths small, snipped them the way you have done to the one above. It is SO simple and pretty. After I baked these little beauties I drizzled them with icing made with icing sugar and vanilla yogurt and then decorated them with orange flavored cranberries and pumpkin seeds to look festive. Another little drizzle of icing helps hold them on.

    You can see a photo of them (with your book behind of COURSE) here on my flickr.[email protected]/3116469593/?addedcomment=1#comment72157611377393820

  21. I found your original recipe in the Mother Earth News magazine and had to try it right-away. One week later I owned your book and today there are two doughs sitting pretty in my fridge. I have made some awesome bread and am getting more and more adventurous with the dough. I just bought a plain plastic container/bucket at the store and punched a hole in the top so I can use it for the dough. I have a hard time finding a bucket big enough for when I double the recipe (I’d love to double it so I can let it sit for longer and have it get even better). last time I used a HUGE bowl and covered it with my non-sealing kitchen aid lid – about a fourth of the dough ended up on my kitchen counter — ooops…
    I’ll keep trying!
    I also stood in my kitchen and figured out how much one cup of flour weighs and all that – I find it easier to just scoop out flour into my bucket that is sitting on top of my scale (my scale shows grams and works with any bowl and I can set it back to zero after I add an ingredient)I just add the water to my bucket and then set my scale to zero, add the yeast, hit zero, add the salt, hit zero, and then the flour — from the containers straight to the bucket – sooo easy. It makes less of a mess and I have the dough ready now within less then 10 minutes!
    Just wanted to let you know that I love all the recipes that I have tried so far. THANK YOU for making baking bread so easy for the rest of us!

  22. I heard you talk with FM107.1 radio talk show host Stephanie Hansen. After hearing the discussion, I had to go out and buy the book. I love artisan bread, and was so afraid that it would be hard, that I never tried it. Your recipe & book is priceless. I have made the first 4 loaves, in less than a week. My 12 yr old picky eater chows thru the bread like a machine. My husband loves it and so did my co-workers. Just fantastic. Bravo..Bravo!!!

  23. Suzanne: Yes, we use weights too.. see my post on that Thanks for your enthusiasm. I’m so glad we were serialized in Mother Earth, that’s been very good for our little project. Check in with us anytime you have a question.

    Diana: Thanks so much, we enjoy being on Stephanie’s show (we were her first-ever guests last year). Come back anytime you have questions, and look for our second book, focusing on whole grains, in 12/09. Jeff

  24. I originally checked your book out from the library and after renewing it as many times as allowed (9 weeks) I went out and bought myself a copy and 8 more for Christmas gifts! I can’t tell you how much my family and I LOVE your recipes! We’re in the middle of making the holiday wreath bread for each of our neighbors. They are turning out great, but I’m curious what diameter to which you stretch your ring.

  25. Theresa: Thank you so much!

    With ring breads and bagels, the important thing is to stretch the hole so that it’s diameter is about three or four times the width of the dough in the “rim.” Otherwise the hole closes up. When I stretch 1 pound of dough into a ring, it gets to be about 10 inches in diameter. Jeff

  26. Hey guys

    This is the third time I’ve written on this entry.
    Here’s a new question…
    Would using bread flour affect the results?
    I made my first master recipe last week. Over the course of a week, I made four loaves and they were great. The only thing is, they barely rose. They were like a tiny loaf that my family of four got all of a slice each, and maybe there was one slice to spare. I used bread flour, and I’m wondering if that’s the culprit. I am a recent baker, and have become a fan of the no-knead bread, and based on all the reading I did through out your site, I understand and have tried to handle the bread as little as possible, but that doesn’t seem to have changed the results.
    I want to make the wreath for Christmas, but being as I will have more people here, if all I get is a tiny loaf, I don’t think that will work. For the wreath pictured, did you use just the grapefruit sized ball of flour? And if I handle that, to shape it, won’t the same problems arise.
    I have just put your book on hold at my local library while I wait to see if I get one for Christmas… Any suggestions will be awesome! I’m so excited at having fresh bread whenever!!!!

  27. Glaucia: Bread flour would make it a little drier but shouldn’t have harmed the rise. I think you’re just finding the 1-pound loaves to be too small. Make it a cantaloupe size, let it rest of an hour (not forty min), and bake longer to get the deep brown crust. See what you think.

    You may be listening to us a little too closely about handling as little as possible. You have to form a nice “cloak” or it spreads sideways rather than rising up. Take a look at the videos under the “media” tab on our website. Jeff

  28. I am planning to make this for Christmas dinner and did a test run with peasant dough last night–it worked great. I noticed you do not call for the broiler pan and water. How come?

  29. Hello again. I have my panetonne dough ready to go to bake on Christmas Eve. Can I form it and let it rise in the fridge overnight? Thanks in advance. I hope you both have a Merry Christmas!

  30. Rise overnight in fridge, but let it sit outside the fridge for about a half hour before baking. Let us know how it goes. Jeff

  31. wow Jeff. I watched some videos and read your tips. I made the dough with regular flour, and then with a bigger ball of dough, I made the holiday wreath bread!. It was awesome! My best loaf yet! My dad called me a professional baker!

  32. Excellent! So glad it worked well for you– the videos can really help. I don’t know how people wrote cookbooks before the web!

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