NORTHWOODS COOKS: Homemade breads make tasty holiday gifts

Christmas breads can be made ahead of time and frozen. Wrapped in red or green plastic and tied with a bow they make a nice addition to gift bags. Adobe Stock.

With Christmas less than a month away, this is the time to think of homemade gifts from the kitchen.

Bread can be made now, wrapped in colorful green or red plastic wrap, tied with a ribbon, then placed in a freezer baggie. Unthawed overnight, it is a Christmas gift that can be enjoyed over the holidays, especially by those who don’t have much time to do their own baking.

These recipes are from the 75th anniversary cookbook from Bethany Lutheran Church in Nevis.

Julekage (Christmas Bread)


2 packages yeast

1/2 cup lukewarm water

3 cups of milk, scalded

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup currants


3/4 cups raisins, chopped

1/2 cup chopped citron

1/2 cup candied cherries

1/2 teaspoon cardamon

6 cups flour (may need more)

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Pour scalded milk over butter and sugar. When lukewarm, add yeast. Add half of the flour and salt and beat for 10 minutes.

Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add fruit and rest of flour. Knead and place in greased bowl. Let rise in a warm place.

Knead down and let rise until light. Shape into loaves and place in greased pans. Brush tops of loaves with egg whites. When double in size, bake 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees. When done, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.


Date Nut Bread

1 small package of dates, cut up

2 cups boiling water

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

4 tablespoons butter

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon cocoa

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Pour boiling water over chopped dates. Add baking soda and salt. Cream sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla. Add flour, cocoa, date mixture and nuts. Put in 2 loaf pans that are 8 by 4 inches in size and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Cranberry Bread

Sift together:

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon soda

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix in thoroughly:

2 tablespoons shortening

3/4 cup orange juice

1 egg, beaten

Fold in:

1 cup of cranberries that have been cut in half

Put into a greased loaf pan 9 by 5 by 3 inches and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a toothpick stuck into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Cardamon Bread

Step 1

2 cups milk

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon cardamon

Mix together, scald and cool until lukewarm.

Step 2:

2 yeast cakes

1/2 cups warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

2 eggs, beaten

8 1/2 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup water and add 1 teaspoon sugar. Mix all ingredients together and knead until smooth. Let rise, knead down and let rise again.

Divide dough into 3 parts. Roll each part into a rectangle, cut in 3 strips and braid. Put each braid into a loaf pan and let rise. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Can frost if desired.

Quick Whole Wheat Bread

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup molasses

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup whole wheat

2/3 cup white flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat sugar and egg together. Add molasses and oil. Mix flours and soda together. Add to rest of ingredients, then add salt. Blend well. Put in greased, floured loaf pan and let stand for 15 minutes. Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Readers are invited to submit four to five of their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to or by mail to the Park Rapids Enterprise, 203 Henrietta Ave. North, Park Rapids, MN 56470 and they may appear in a future issue.

Related Topics: FOODRECIPES
Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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