Friday, December 08, 2006

Preparing for St. Lucia day

Planning ahead:

For St. Lucia day (December 13), our girls all dress in something white (bathrobes, dress-up, anything will do), and serve Atticus and me some sort of breakfast in bed. The "some sort" has varied over the years. On a good year, it's the scrumptious bread you'll find below. On an "off" year, it's glazed donuts from the store. But, as I stressed in my "Advent at our house" post, don't stress over the "good years" and "off years." Your kids don't. What they remember is the dressing up, the St. Lucia crowns (often simply made, from construction paper), the procession to your room, the breakfast. (And, sometimes, we even put off the breakfast celebration until a weekend, so that the kids don't have to be up at 6 a.m., serving Atticus before he leaves for work.) In short, they remember the memories you're making.

I got this recipe is from my dear friend, Holly. It's one of the most delicious, sweet breads I've ever tasted. She found it here, at Family Fun.

Here's the recipe:

Braided St. Lucia Bread

1 1/2 cups milk
2 (1/4 oz.) pkgs. active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar, plus 1 T. sugar
6 T. butter, cut in pieces
2 large eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
1 T. finely grated orange rind
1 t. salt
5 1/2 - 6 1/2 cups flour

Glaze and garnish:
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
2-4 T. orange juice
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Warm the milk in a small saucepan, then pour 1/2 cup of it into a large bowl. Add the yeast and 1 T. of the sugar and let it sit for 5 min.

Melt the butter in the remaining milk. Add butter/milk mixture to the yeast mixture. Whisk in the eggs, juice, 1/4 cup sugar, orange rind, and salt. Stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough can be gathered into a ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 min., adding more flour until the dough is smooth and elastic and doesn't stick to your hands. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turning it once to coat it. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down the dough and divide it into 3 equal parts. Roll each part into a 30-inch rope and braid the ropes together. Transfer the braid to a greased baking sheet, pinch together the ends to form a circle and let it rise until doubled in size, about 45 min. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 min., or until golden brown, then let cool on a wire rack about 30 min.

For the glaze, stir together the confectioner's sugar and orange juice until smooth. Drizzle over the bread, then garnish with cranberries. Add candles for "wreath."

We'll also read Lissa's Hanna's Christmas (pictured above.) I have to request this via interlibrary loan (and it's in today -- yippee!), which I do every year. After reading Lissa's account of how hard it is to find, I think I'll send a note back with it this time, begging them to please sell it to me if they ever decide to put it in the library sale pile. Not that I want them to sell it -- it really should remain in the library, so as many people as possible can enjoy it. But, hey, you know, if they choose to sell it, I want to make it clear that I have first dibs.

For more and much better ideas than mine (these women actually craft, while I just fake it and make excuses), see Katherine's posts here and here.

And, see Christine's wonderful St. Lucia wreaths here.


Katherine in TX said...

Karen, I am so excited about the bread recipe. I was going to do a little search for one, but when you told me you were going to post it I decided to wait patiently. It sounds delicious and I can't wait to try it with the kids.

Thanks for another great idea.

Karen E. said...

You'll love it, Katherine! I can't stop eating it. :-)

And thank YOU for all of your wonderful ideas!

Dawn said...

Karen, thank you SO much for this post! I am definitely making that bread, and I just requested the book from my library. (Saying a little prayer it will be in by next Wednesday!)

And speaking of the book - where *have* I been? How did I not know that book was by Lissa!?! And I call myself a 4Realer, LOL.

Blessings to you, my friend!

Jennifer said...

St. Lucia is one of my favorites, the dressing up in white, the candles, the food...all the good elements are there plus one very important addition - I get to stay in bed and have my coffee too! Just kidding! We usually celebrate under the tiki so Marianna can parade down the dock, gotta love a parade you know.

Margaret in Minnesota said...

I am SO looking forward to this feast day--the first year that we'll be celebrating it. Thank you for this post, dear Karen!

Katherine in TX said...

OK, the bread is incredible! My OB is really going to come down hard on me after I down the rest of the loaf! :)

Susan T. said...

Karen, I made this bread today, and it's wonderful. Thanks for posting the recipe. I even took it to a small holiday party, and everyone loved it. As a novice baker, I thought this one was fun to make, though I've got quite a ways to go on my braiding technique...

Karen E. said...

You just tell your OB to mind his own business. :-)

My braiding technique has improved over the last two or three years. I find, however, that once one tastes the bread, it doesn't matter WHAT it looks like .... ;-)

So glad it was enjoyed!

Philippa said...

do you think this recipe could be made without adding the sugar (either to the dough or the glaze)? I know then it wouldn't be a sweet bread anymore, but would it still 'work'?
Thanks! :)

Karen E. said...

I've never made it another way, but you could certainly try. You'd still need to T. of sugar to add to the yeast, to activate it, but you could try leaving the 1/4 cup out of the dough, and could leave off the glaze, and see what you come up with!

Philippa said...

thanks! I'll have to have a go sometime soon..

sabrina said...

i tryed this bread and its was SOOO good.. im not one to celebrate lucia day.. i have a great christmas every year with my family.. i have a daughter who is 4 and her name is kira.. also i am a 17 year old female who lives in peterborough onatio so i thought that i would try some swedenish and to my surpise it was good... lmfao i jus wanted to let people know that.. any ways i gotta go peace outta!!

Anonymous said...

It is extremely interesting for me to read this post. Thank you for it. I like such topics and everything connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.

April said...

Thanks for the recipe. I just made it this evening. My daughter is bringing to school tomorrow to celebrate this event. I can't wait to taste it!

Karen Edmisten said...

Great! I hope you love it! :)
Happy St. Lucia day!

Liz in AL said...

Thank you so much for this recipe! We doubled it, since we have teenaged boys, and made two! They turned out amazingly well and my 11 year old was able to do most of the recipe herself, except for some help with the kneading and braiding. We will probably use this recipe for our King Cakes this year too! This will definitely become part of our Advent activities in future years.