A traditional, Bulgarian Christmas Bread, topped with honey are decorated to celebrate abundance in the coming year. Traditionally enjoyed on Christmas Eve.

Bulgarian Christmas eve bread from overhead

About Bulgarian Christmas Bread

Traditionally, the Bulgarian Christmas Eve table weighs down under the abundance of food the earth has presented us with – fruits and vegetables, nuts and beans, honey and wine. The centre of the festive dinner is the ritual bread, decorated with pastry fruits, flowers and ears of wheat – symbol of fertility. Inside the bread is hidden a fortune coin – symbol of prosperity.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Yeast – you can use either Active Dry Yeast or Instant Yeast for this bread. I have included instructions for both types.

Honey – use a neutral tasting runny honey.

Recipe Tips

Despite my lack of artistic talent, the process of shaping and attaching the pieces of dough was surprisingly easy. And fun. In fact, I wished I had waited until my daughter was home to make it with me. It was sort of like grown up playdough.

I made my bread ahead and froze it. We’ll eat it on Christmas Eve with our family dinner. The person who gets the piece with the Fortune coin pecan, will enjoy a particularly prosperous 2013. At least I think that’s the idea (I’m making up my own tradition here :)

Bulgarian Christmas eve bread from overhead

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Bulgarian Christmas bread on parchment paper

Get the Recipe: Bulgarian Christmas Bread

Traditional Bulgarian Christmas Bread, typically enjoyed on Christmas Eve. Traditionally, a coin is baked into the bread to symbolize prosperity for the year ahead. I used a whole pecan instead.
5 stars from 2 ratings
Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Yield: 12 servings


  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons instant or dry active yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tablespoons vegetable, canola or any neutral tasting oil
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable, canola or any neutral tasting oil
  • 1 Tablespon honey


  • Add yeast to warm water, stir and allow to sit for a few minutes. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the flour. Add the yeast/water mixture, the honey, oil and salt. Mix the dough until it comes together, adding a bit more water or flour, as necessary, then knead by hand or with your dough hook, into a soft, smooth dough.
  • Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with plastic warp and let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 30-60 minutes.
  • When the dough has doubled, place on a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or so. Cut out and set aside a fist-sized piece of dough (to be used to make the top decorations). Knead the fortune coin (I used a whole pecan in place of a real coin) into the remaining dough and then roll into a flat round shape. Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Using the reserved piece of dough, cut small pieces and shape into the various elements to decorate the top of the bread. Decorate the bread with ears of wheat, apples, grapes or flowers. To make the top of the wheat, use some clean kitchen scissors to snip v-shaped snips into the dough. Once all your shapes are placed on the bread round, press down lightly over the top of them to flatten slightly and ensure they stick. In a small bowl, prepare the glaze by combining the honey and oil and brush liberally over the entire top of the bread (you may not need to use it all).
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 400° until golden and cooked through, about 20 - 25 minutes. Check the bread regularly after 10 minutes and cover the top with a piece of aluminum foil if the top is browning too much.
Cuisine: Bulgarian
Course: Bread
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 204kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Sodium: 80mg, Potassium: 52mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Calcium: 6mg, Iron: 1.9mg
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