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Throughout December, Niedlov's Breadworks' guests can get their favorite holiday loaf of Stollen bread, which is a perfect gift or a delicious addition to any meal.

"The Stollen is Niedlov's Breadworks' holiday tradition," says owner John Sweet, who has prepared the recipe for the past five years. "Once you taste it, I am sure it will become a part of your holiday tradition as well."

The rich dough is often compared to colorful holiday fruitcakes, but is a traditional German holiday bread that was originally shaped to represent the baby Jesus wrapped in a blanket. Sweet says the buttery, fruity, sugar-coated loaf isn't necessarily a health-oriented addition to the meal, but more of a taste explosion.

When preparing the loaves, cranberries and candied citrus peel are soaked in fresh-squeezed orange and lemon juice while the red and golden raisins and currants are soaked in rum. Nuts are chopped and toasted and then everything is folded into the buttery dough that has been scented with cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger and nutmeg seasonings from Alchemy Spice Company. After baking under the careful gaze of Niedlov's bakers, the onepound loaf is brushed with a rum-butter concoction and rolled in powdered sugar perfection.

"Artisan breads are breads made with artistry and craftsmanship," Sweet says. "We're committed to long fermentation times and we make a product that is both beautiful and healthy using a variety of whole grains in many of our breads as well as our specialty sour dough."

All of the naturally leavened recipes are prepared in a carefully controlled atmosphere. Trained kneaders and bakers watch the dough rise before shaping, reshaping and marking the bread by hand for baking. This winter, the bakery is also preparing more of the popular Cranberry Pecan bread, which, like the Stollen, is a popular addition to holiday meals.

"Bread is also great as a gift," Sweet says. "It is a good fit for a lot of awkward situations, like when you are trying to figure out what to get for your boss. We also have $10 and $25 gift certificates."

Another popular winter tradition at the bakery is from-scratch soups available during lunch hours. Each day, two soups are prepared from scratch, including rotating selections like the ever-popular butternut squash, lentil, chunky chicken and creamy potato. "We're doing a vegetarian chili this year that has been very popular," Sweet says.

LOCATION: 215 East Main Street.

PHONE: 756-0303.

HOURS: Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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