There are few things more comforting and nourishing in daily life than the aroma of BAKING BREAD. The anticipation of biting into a warm slice and memories of my grandmother and mother lining up pans of sweet rolls or bread on the kitchen counter can make even the dreariest day brighten up. My mom had the bread baking “gift” and I always believed it was a gene she didn’t pass along to her oldest daughter. I made plenty of cinnamon rolls and yeasty coffee cakes when my kids were young but they always lacked that light as a feather texture and flavor my mother could achieve without even thinking about it.
Things started to change for me when I discovered the KING ARTHUR FLOUR website and started experimenting with their products and recipes. I know a lot of it is trial and error and getting the “feel” of the dough…does it have enough flour…too little flour…has it risen enough…is it done…are often daunting questions as I start to pull a recipe together. If I really need help I can call their hot line and speak directly to a person who knows what they are talking about. A few of the KAF products that I have tried and love are their CAKE ENHANCER (it produces a moist, light dough that stays fresh longer), BUTTERY SWEET DOUGH FLAVOR (hints of butter, vanilla and citrus) and CLEARJEL POWDER (thickens fillings and sauces without any starchy taste. A little bit added to whipped cream keeps it from separating and deflating). If you visit their website I’m sure you will find some secret ingredients of your own.
I love this recipe for so many reasons. The dough is light as a feather and easy to handle. So many different ingredients could be used as a filling…next time I’ll try a mix of finely chopped nuts. The dough is filled and rolled up like a jelly roll, then cut the length of the roll. The pieces are laid on a baking sheet cut sides up and braided so the stripes of filling are visible. Next time I’ll have a little more confidence in what I’m doing and get it shaped exactly how I want it. The recipe makes 2 small braids and next time I will make just one bigger one.
If you suffer bouts of YEAST DOUGH ANXIETY I urge you to spend a little time on the KING ARTHUR FLOUR website and try a few of their recipes. Having a resource like this available with the best products and customer service takes a lot of stress out of the bread baking experience. I think even my mom would be surprised by how much my yeast breads have improved.
- 3¼ cups (13 to 13¾ ounces) unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- ¼ cup (1½ ounces) potato flour OR ½ cup dried potato flakes
- 1 heaping tablespoon (1/2 ounce) granular lecithin (optional)
- 3 tablespoons (1¼ ounces) sugar
- 1½ teaspoons instant yeast
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons (1½ ounces) butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla OR Sweet Dough Flavor OR Princess Cake Flavor
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup (8 ounces) milk
- ½ cup (3¾ ounces) sugar
- 3 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) Instant ClearJel® powder or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup peeled, grated apple (1 to 2 large apples, 10 to 12 ounces whole)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup (4 ounces) glazing or confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 to 2 tablespoons water OR 2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Note: It’s important to distribute the potato flour (or flakes) throughout the dry ingredients so it/they won’t clump when the liquid is added. Add the butter, flavoring, egg and milk, then mix until a shaggy dough forms. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes; this resting period allows the flour to absorb the liquid fully, making it easier to knead.
- Knead the dough for about 10 minutes; it should feel slightly sticky and soft. Add a couple of tablespoons of water if the dough feels firm or dry. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise until it's almost doubled in bulk, about 1½ to 2 hours. The amount of time this takes will depend on the temperature of your kitchen; yeast works the fastest at about 85°F, but we prefer the flavor the bread gets from a longer, cooler (about 70°F) rise.
- Filling: While the dough is rising, make the filling. Whisk together the sugar, ClearJel powder and cinnamon. (You may substitute 3 tablespoons of flour for the ClearJel; the filling will be runny, but it will firm up when baked.)
- Toss the grated apples with the lemon juice, then add that to the ClearJel and sugar mixture. Mix well, and set aside.
- Assembly: Gently deflate the risen dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured or greased work surface. Fold it over once or twice to remove the excess gas. Divide the dough in half. Roll the first half into a 10 x 12-inch rectangle. Spread half the filling over the rolled-out dough, leaving a ½-inch margin clear of filling along all sides.
- Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a log, sealing the edge. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the log in half lengthwise. Place the half-logs, filled side up, side by side on a well-greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Keeping the filling side up, twist or "braid" the two logs together, working from the center to each end. Pinch the ends together. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Cover the twists lightly, and set them aside to rise for 1 to 2 hours.
- Baking: Bake the loaves in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes until they’re lightly browned. Check the loaves after 20 minutes and tent with aluminum foil if they’re browning too quickly around the edges. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool for about 1 hour before glazing and serving.
- Glaze: Mix together all of the glaze ingredients and drizzle it over the loaves once they’re cool.
I haven’t received any compensation for this post from KING ARTHUR FLOUR. I think their products are great and want to share my thoughts with others who love to bake.
This post is linked to FOODIE FRIDAY at Rattlebridge Farm.