Small, Sweet Holiday Bread Recipes from Sift: a handful of goodness for sharing.

Sift magazine‘s holiday issue presents dozens of inspirations for this festive season’s baking. Our Bread Board feature explores a number of sweet holiday bread recipes from different countries and traditions. They’re small, just right for individual treats or sharing with a friend over coffee, and beautifully delicious. We hope they’ll become a cherished part of your family’s holiday feasts.


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sweet holiday bread recipes via@kingarthurflour

Black Buns

Like most bakers at holiday time, I reached back to my ancestors for a special bread to bake. Black Buns are an old Scottish tradition, often seen in bakery shops this time of year. A slightly sweet yeast dough is mixed up, then divided. Half is packed full of every good fruit you can think of, plus some spices and a bit of brandy. The results are lovely little breads that can be glazed or not. However you chose to present them, they epitomize special-occasion treats.

sweet holiday bread recipes via@kingarthurflour

Danish Cream Rolls

From Scandinavia and Beatrice Ojakangas come these lovely, cream-filled individual pastries. Each one is pretty enough to be its own little Christmas package. Put three or four of them in a pretty box, tie with a bow, and you have the perfect gift for a teacher or neighbor.

sweet holiday bread recipes via@kingarthurflour

St. Lucia Buns

These warm, golden buns are the traditional Swedish way of celebrating St. Lucia, the bringer of light. These buns are shaped in an “s,” infused with warm saffron, and sprinkled with brilliant white Swedish Pearl Sugar.

sweet holiday bread recipes via@kingarthurflour

Czech Kolaches

Central Europe has long been known for great baking. Over the centuries, emigrants from the Czech Republic have come to the US, bringing their small breads with them. In Texas, the Kolache is king. Sometimes made with sweet fillings, other times with savory, these little breads are a treat at any time of the year.

These sweet holiday bread recipes often appear only during this season. Many family recipes are passed down through generations. Their unique shapes demonstrate attention to craft, without being difficult to execute. They’re easy to share: one fresh pastry or small sweet bread, thoughtfully wrapped, is much less intimidating than a 3-pound panettone.

We hope you’ll do some traveling in your kitchen this year, with these sweet, small bread recipes from Sift, and share the results with someone special.

Susan Reid

Chef Susan Reid grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Bates College and the Culinary Institute of America, and is presently the Food Editor of Sift magazine. She does demos, appearances, and answers food (and baking) questions from all quarters.


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Joyce, seems there was a glitch with the recipe page — it’s fixed now and all the info should be there. The filling is added to the kolaches in step 9 after the dough rises a second time. Kye@KAF

  1. Mary

    Now it doesn’t give information between 8 and 9 about how much filling? Do you put the topping on before you bake the kolaches?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Step 9. Add a mounded tablespoon of Apple Filling, or 2 teaspoons of Cheese Filling, and then crumble a teaspoon of the topping mixture over each. After this is complete, move on to baking the kolaches for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. I hope that clarifies. Kye@KAF

  2. J

    Is there a step missing in the directions for the kolaches? It seems between step 5 and 6 is should tell you what to do with the risen dough.


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Our apologies for the confusion! We’ll be sure to get this updated asap. In the meantime, you’ll want to transfer the risen dough to a lightly greased work surface, and gently deflate it. Cut walnut-sized pieces of dough (1 scant ounce apiece by weight) and shape into slightly flattened balls. Then resume with step #6. Thanks for the catch! Mollie@KAF

    2. Marla

      Do you add the filling of choice and topping at the end of step 8 of the updated directions? Currently it says to press a deep indention in the center of the dough and then it goes on to step 9 where you bake the kolaches.
      And approximately how much filling goes in the center depression?

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      Marla, the instructions for the kolches have been updated and all the necessary steps should be there now. We apologize for any confusion. Kye@KAF

    1. Susan Reid, post author

      Regina, the best thing to do with this is to use a gluten-free recipe designed for yeast dough; measure for measure doesn’t perform well for yeast recipes. I suggest making the dough from this recipe, and filling and baking as the recipe directs. I hope this helps. Susan

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