Cinnamon Apple Twist Bread

Cinnamon Apple Twist Bread RecipeWhen you find a recipe that piques your interest, your mouth starts to water in anticipation of what could be. But, there is always the possibility that the picture you have in your mind is not the reality. Sometimes that is due to user error and other times it is because of the way that recipe is written.

My problem is, when I get excited about a recipe, I want it to be perfect and I am really bummed when it’s not. One of the hardest things to do is to write a recipe that is clear and concise for a reading public that includes cooking talents that span the spectrum. It is almost impossible to get it perfect for everyone.

Therefore, when I find a recipe that I want to try, I always read through it a few times before I start the process. That way there are usually no surprises, and it usually comes out the way I expected. There are a few occasions when even armed with knowledge, it doesn’t work right. It can be very disappointing and disheartening especially when you can’t figure out what went wrong. Baking is notorious for this…

Case in point, I recently tried to make a cinnamon apple twist bread that I found from King Arthur. With the little chunks of apple and the cinnamon dressed up with a sweet glaze, this recipe appealed to my need for some indulgent fall flavor. And, I thought it would be a fun treat for a lazy Sunday breakfast.

Things started out just fine. The dough came out beautifully. But, things went sideways with the filling. I opted to go the Clear Gel route and that may have been my mistake. Or, maybe I just chose the wrong apples—because there was so much juice that the filling went everywhere. I managed to get the bread braided and ready to rise but I knew that the result was going to be gooey sticky. (Which could actually be a good thing, am I right?)

At the end of the day, the bread sorta worked. It tasted great but looked terrible. This weekend, I am going to try it again going the cornstarch route. I will not let this recipe defeat me!!

I’ll let you know how it goes…

Cinnamon Apple Twist Bread Recipe
Adapted from King Arthur Baking Company
Yields 2 loaves

This makes a delicious breakfast loaf and presents beautifully on the table.

For the dough
3-1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup potato flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm milk

For the filling
1 cup peeled, grated apple (we recommend Braeburn)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans, optional

For the glaze
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream

Make the dough
Measure the flour by carefully spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess with the flat back of a knife.

Whisk all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk together the wet ingredients in another: butter, vanilla, egg, and milk. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing until a shaggy dough forms. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes for the flour to absorb the liquid.

Knead the dough
You can knead the dough by hand, using a mixer, or in a bread machine set on the dough cycle. Knead the dough until it is smooth and soft, though still slightly sticky to the touch.

Allow the dough to rise
Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat both sides with oil. Cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise until it’s almost doubled in bulk (about 1-1/2 to 2 hours). The amount of time this takes will depend on the temperature of your kitchen. If you’re using a bread machine set on the dough cycle, simply allow it to complete its cycle.

Make the filling
While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Toss the grated apple with the lemon juice in a saucepan. In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon, then add to the pan. Stir to combine.

Cook the apple mixture over low heat, stirring frequently, until the apple starts to release its juice. Increase the heat to medium, and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring, until the mixture thickens (about 1 to 2 minutes). To test, draw a spatula across the bottom of the pan, and it should leave a track that doesn’t readily fill in.

Remove the pan from the heat, and set it aside to cool to room temperature. If you want to speed the cooling process, place the pan in the refrigerator.

Assemble the loaf
Gently push down on the risen dough to deflate it. And, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough in half. Using a rolling pin, roll the first half into a 10″ x 12″ rectangle. Spread half the filling over the rolled-out dough, leaving a 1/2″ margin clear of filling along all sides. If adding chopped nuts, sprinkle them evenly over the filling.

Twist the loaf
Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a log and seal the edge. Use a 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 the two logs together, working from the center to each end. Pinch the ends together. Repeat with the second piece of dough.

Allow the loaves to rise
Cover the twisted loaves lightly, and set them aside to rise (about 1 to 2 hours) When ready, they should be puffy but not doubled in bulk.

Do ahead
If you want to make the bread ahead stop at this point, cover the loaves with greased plastic wrap, and refrigerate the loaves overnight. Allow them to come to room temperature in the morning before baking them according to instructions.

Bake the loaves
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the loaves in the oven until they are lightly browned (about 30 to 40 minutes). Check the loaves after 20 minutes and tent with aluminum foil if they’re browning too quickly.

When the loaves are fully baked, a digital thermometer inserted into the bread part of a loaf (not the filling) should register about 190°F.

Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool for about 1 hour before glazing and serving.

Make the glaze
Mix together the glaze ingredients and drizzle the glaze over the loaves once they are completely cooled.

Store the bread
Store leftover bread, loosely covered, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage. For best results, freeze the bread unglazed and tightly wrapped in plastic.

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