Spreading holiday cheer can be done in the simplest of ways. A kind gesture, a small gift, a stunning Christmas light display, or nostalgic foods. When I think of Christmas I think of my grandma and grandpa’s baking. There was always an abundance of pies for dessert and freshly baked rolls to snack on and eat with dinner. Why not make this Christmas one to remember by going the extra mile and sharing your holiday baking into a classic Christmas decoration? In this recipe, I opted to shape the traditional dinner rolls I always had growing up into a wreath and I served it alongside a creamy, hot, apricot jam-filled wheel of baked Camembert.
*In order to make this recipe, you’ll need either a 14 or 16-inch pizza pan or a large enough baking sheet to accommodate a bread wreath 14 inches in diameter
Christmas Bread Wreath with Baked Apricot Camembert
Prep time: 30 minutes + 2.5 hours inactive
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes + 2.5 hours inactive
Yield: 1 large bread wreath
For the Dough
- 4.75 cups all-purpose Western Family flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp. instant yeast
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ cup Western Family unsalted butter
- 1.5 cups whole or 2% milk, at room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 250g wheel Camembert cheese*
- 1/3 cup Western Family signature apricot jam
- 1 tbsp. melted butter
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- Pinch of flaky sea salt
- A handful of pomegranate seeds (optional)
*If you can’t find or don’t like Camembert cheese, you can easily substitute it with your favourite brie.
In a large bowl or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer set up with the paddle attachment, gently stir together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt until well combined.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and pour in the milk, stirring to combine – it should be warm but not hot, to avoid accidentally cooking the egg.
Pour the butter/milk mixture into the dry ingredients along with the egg and slowly stir or mix at level 1 until a soft dough starts to combine.
If using an electric stand mixer, change the attachment to the dough hook. If using a large bowl, turn the dough onto a floured surface and begin to knead the dough by hand. Knead the dough for approximately 5-7 minutes (with your hands or on speed 1 or 2), until a smooth ball is formed. The dough should be a little bit tacky, but should not stick to your hands. Depending on where you live, you might need a little more or less flour. If your dough is a little dry, add water 1 tbsp. at a time. If your dough is too sticky, add flour 1 tbsp. at a time.
Place the kneaded dough in a greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and leave it to rise in a warm place for approximately 1.5 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
Line a pizza pan with parchment paper. Remove the Camembert cheese from its packaging and place it in the middle of the pan. Deflate the dough by punching it, and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into 25 evenly sized balls. Arrange (evenly spaced) 9 of the dough balls around the wheel of Camembert, making the first, inner ring of the wreath. Take the remaining balls of dough and make the second, outermost ring around the Camembert. Cover the cheese/dough with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Using a sharp knife, gently cut into the top layer (rind) of the wheel of cheese. You want to leave a quarter-inch of the rind around the outer edge of the Camembert so that it has a shallow lip when you go to fill it with jam. Gently score the top of the rind of cheese so you can more easily remove the “lid” you created. Discard the top rind or “lid”, and fill the wheel with the apricot jam.
Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is melty and the buns are golden brown, 18-20 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush the buns with the melted butter and sprinkle the chopped rosemary, flaky sea salt, and pomegranate seeds if using.
Serve hot, tearing off rolls from the wreath one by one and dipping them into the baked apricot Camembert.