The bread is made with caraway seeds and plaited into a three thread yule bread loaf. This is turned into a circle to represent the “Sacred Three” and the Sun respectively.
There are a number of reasons for this. The round loaf represents the sun in its circle form. Caraway seeds have lots of folklore about them. When added to things they prevent the thing being stolen or from straying and were frequently used in love charms for this reason. They were often left under the beds of newborns as well. It’s suggested that the Sìdhe/Sìth and other spirits would have to count the seeds. This would distract them from stealing the child. I assume it’s baked into the bread to prevent the virtue of the sun being stolen or the virtue of the household being taken over the time when the sidhe and spirits of winter are abroad. The three threads for the sacred three as they weave their influence through our lives. It’s a way of showing respect to them.
Ingredients for Yule Bread
2 tablespoons honey
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water (Body temp)
1 teaspoon water
1 large egg2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, divided (about 10 1/2 ounces)
1 cup whole wheat flour (about 4 3/4 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (leave out if you’re not making it for humans)
1 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
Dissolve honey and yeast in 1 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes.
Combine 1 teaspoon water and egg, stirring well with a whisk.
Place 1 tablespoon egg mixture in a small bowl.
Cover and chill.
Add remaining egg mixture to yeast mixture.
Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.
Add 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup of whole wheat flour, salt, 1 teaspoon caraway seeds to yeast mixture; stir to form a soft dough.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface.
Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of remaining all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough may feel sticky).
Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top.
Cover and let rise in a warm place (70° ), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch the dough down; cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
Divide dough in three.
Working with one portion at a time, roll each portion into a 12-inch rope on a lightly floured surface. Braid ropes together, and pinch ends to seal in a circle
Place dough in an 8-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.
Cover and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Brush reserved egg mixture over loaf, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds.
Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until loaf is browned on bottom and sounds hollow when tapped.
Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.