Archive for the ‘Bread’ Category

Bake 52 Week 39: Spiced Pumpkin Bread

September 26, 2012

What better way to kick off autumn than spiced pumpkin bread? Mmmmm!! I could smell it baking as soon as this week’s host make her pick. This recipe was a snap to whip up, and I was especially excited because it was a bit of a gloomy day…perfect for a bread like this. It smelled soooo yummy while it baked, and the toothpick came out practically clean when the timer went off. I left the bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then turned it out on a cooling rack. I had followed the recipe to a tee. So, imagine my nervousness when, as I turned it out onto the cooling rack, the center of the bread wiggled a bit like jello and then started to sag. I left it a few minutes more to cool, and then, as I attempted to flip the bread over, my worst fears were confirmed. The edges of the bread pulled away to reveal that entire middle had not baked fully. My heart sunk. Utter diasppointment filled my soul. My beautiful, delicious-smelling bread was nothing short of a disaster. Nothing like having your day ruined by 10 am.

I’m not sure why my toothpick came out clean, because the middle of my bread was clearly unbaked.  I’ve never had that happen before.  I was able to eat around the edges of the bread, where it had  baked fully, and it was yummy, but a little less spicy than I would have liked.  I think when I try this one again, I’ll up the spice content a bit.

Thanks Talesha for such a fun fall recipe….I can’t believe I ruined it!  Can’t wait to try it again!

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Bake 52 Week 32: Cheddar Cheese Bread

August 8, 2012

As far as recipes go, this was a really easy one to put together.  No off-the-wall ingredients (though not all things that I typically keep in my fridge either…but at least knew where to find them in the store), and no time consuming directions.  Since this isn’t a yeast bread, there’s no rising involved, so the bulk of the prep is the 45 minute baking time.

Unfortunately, that’s about as far as the praise goes in my house.  Nobody was really a fan.  I could tell while it was baking that it was going to put my taste buds into overdrive….I love parmesan, but extra sharp cheddar is a little lot strong for me.  Just the smell of that extra sharp cheddar combined with the parmesan nearly knocked me over.

The bread had cooled enough for us to eat with dinner.  The top crust didn’t hold together very well when I cut into it…it all just kind of crumbled off.  The bread itself wasn’t terribly flavorful, and was even a bit dry, so it was the cheese chunks that really packed the punch of flavor.  Although I cut the cubes of cheddar the size specified in the recipe, I wish I’d done them smaller so that they were better distributed throughout the bread.  The parmesan baked into the crust (especially the bottom) was probably the most enjoyable part for me, but it wasn’t enough to make me want to try this recipe again.

Betsy was this week’s host….head on over to her blog if this recipe sounds like one you want to try.

Bake 52 Week 31: Monkey Bread

August 1, 2012

To start off, I have to apologize for the near-repeat recipe this week. When the current round of recipe dates were posted, and I saw that my date fell right within the time range that I was expecting to have a baby, I picked my recipe early and got it made so that my post would be ready to go regardless of whether I was still pregnant or not (still here, btw…any day now!). Then, a couple of weeks later, Valerie chose cinnamon rolls for her recipe, which fell two weeks before me….and happened to use the same basic sweet dough recipe that the monkey bread does. Under normal circumstances, I would have just nixed the monkey bread and chosen something different. But, since my baking and post-writing was already done–and because I was busy trying to bake ahead as many recipes as I could in anticipation of my maternity leave–I decided that we’d just have to roll with it and perfect that basic sweet dough recipe!

I chose monkey bread mainly because it’s something that I’ve heard people talk about, but I’ve never had it before and really didn’t know exactly what it was….and it uses a Bundt pan, which is something I’ve wanted to own, but never had a good enough reason to buy.  Monkey bread was the perfect excuse for me to go out and buy one!

The base recipe for this monkey bread is the basic sweet dough.  It had a slightly different texture–heavier, I guess–than the dough I’m used to working with, but I was really impressed with the end result.  It’s easy to whip up and work with and baked up nice and light and fluffy.  You start with a buttermilk/butter/egg mixture that is slowly added to the dry ingredients as they mix.  I failed to read that the buttermilk should be warm, and I worried that maybe my dough wouldn’t rise well since I added it cold.  It did take a bit longer to rise, but I didn’t ruin the entire thing, thankfully!

After rising for a couple of hours, it’s time to assemble the cinnamon balls. My balls were pretty scary looking and the sizes were anything but uniform!

The recipe suggested covering the balls with plastic wrap and just pulling out a few pieces at a time to work with.  I thought that would be a waste of plastic wrap, so I just worked fast.  I left my cinnamon mixture in the bowl I mixed it in, rather than spreading it on a baking sheet….it worked just fine and saved a dish needing to be washed.

After everything is covered in butter and cinnamon/sugar, it’s left to rise again.  Easy as pie!

Once the balls have doubled in size, it’s time to bake.  After baking, you leave it to cool in the pan for just a few minutes and then dump it out.  I was a little worried that maybe I had messed something up and the balls would all fall apart when I pulled the pan off, but they had baked together nicely and looked really pretty.  I drizzled the glaze and let them sit for just a bit before digging in….and boy was that first bite heavenly!  Monkey bread should definitely be eaten warm!  The balls pulled apart easily and were the perfect size to be satisfying….for a few minutes at least, and then you needed another!

We really enjoyed this recipe.  I’m glad that the basic sweet dough is so easy to make….I’ll definitely use it again, and monkey bread will be on the list of make-again recipes for our family.

Monkey Bread

Make sure to use light brown sugar here; dark brown sugar has a stronger molasses flavor that can be overwhelming. After baking don’t let the bread cool in the pan for more than 5 minutes or it will stock to the pan and come out in pieces.

Bread

1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 recipe Basic Sweet Dough (see below)
8 TB unsalted butter, melted

Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 TB milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. FOR THE BREAD: Grease a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan. Toss the brown sugar with the cinnamon, and then spread out over a rimmed baking sheet.

2. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter, divide it into 36 even pieces, and cover with greased plastic wrap. Working with several pieces of dough at a time (keeping the other pieces covered), round the dough into tight balls. Following the photo, roll the balls in the melted butter, followed by the cinnamon sugar, and arrange evenly in the prepared pan.

Sprinkle any remaining butter and cinnamon sugar over the top. Wrap the pan tightly in plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

4. Adjust an over rack tot he middle position and heat the over to 350°. Bake the monkey bread until the top is deep brown and the caramel begins to bubble around the edges, 30-40 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.

5. FOR THE GLAZE: Col. the monkey bread in the pan for 5 minutes, then gently turn out onto the platter and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla together in a small bowl until smooth, then drizzle it over the bread and serve warm.

TO MAKE AHEAD:
In step 3, do no let the monkey bread rise, but refrigerate it overnight or up to 16 hours. Let the bread sit at room temperature until it has nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour, then bake as directed.

Basic Sweet Dough

This versatile dough is used to make Monkey Bread, Cinnamon Rolls, and Sticky Buns.

3/4 cup buttermilk, warm (110°)
6 TB unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt

1. Whisk the buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs together in a large liquid measuring cup. Combine 4 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.

2. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If after 5 minutes more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 TB at a time, until the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

3. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

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Bake 52 Week 25: Southern-Style Skillet Cornbread

June 20, 2012

I’m kind of glad that I’ve had a bad experience with a recipe that I’ve chosen so that I don’t feel so bad not liking someone else’s recipe.  This cornbread was a doozie for us.  I had high hopes.  I actually quite like cornbread, though we don’t eat it often.  The recipe called for using a cast iron skillet, which I don’t have, so I just used a heavy casserole dish.  That seemed to work just fine, though I imagine that the outer crust would have been crustier with a skillet.

The recipe itself was actually pretty easy.  Just a few ingredients and quick to put together.  It was fun to watch as I poured the batter into the hot dish and see the edges start baking up before it was even back in the oven.

While the bread was cooling, it dawned on me that I hadn’t put any sugar in the bread, so I quickly pulled out my recipe book to make sure I hadn’t missed it.  Whew…I hadn’t!  But that was the point that I started to become a little leery about how this bread would taste….and for good reason.

It’s important to note that the cornbread I’m used to is slightly sweet.  So imagine my surprise when I took a bite of this bread and felt like I might as well be eating cornmeal right out of the container.  Bland, bland, bland.  There seriously was no flavor at all.  Not even a little butter helped.  And it would have taken more honey than my taste buds can handle to sweeten this stuff up to the point that it would have been edible.  My kids all took one bite and screwed their faces up.  Not even Joseph was impressed enough to have more than one piece.  Needless to say, the rest of the bread went into the trash, which is a shame because it was actually quite pretty.

I’m not sure what southerners do with their cornbread…Joseph said maybe it would be good sitting in a bowl of stew…but this one will definitely NOT be going on my to-bake-again list.  I think I’ll stick with my Lehi Roller Mills mix for next time!

Jen was this week’s host…and I’ll forgive her for offending my taste buds (I at least tasted the final product, which is more than I can say for some recipes!).  I hope everyone else liked it better.  If you’ve got a great use for flavorless cornbread, head on over to Jen’s blog for the recipe!

Bake 52 Week 24: Cinnamon Swirl Bread

June 13, 2012

I’ve made various cinnamon swirl bread recipes over the years and none of them have quite captured me. Usually they turn out too dry, or the cinnamon/sugar ratio isn’t quite right.  Even the cinnamon burst loaf from Great Harvest is a little dry for my taste.  Finally, this recipe combated both of those problems!  I’m pretty sure I ate the bulk of the loaf myself, but my kids did proclaim the next morning that it made the best toast they’d ever had and they wanted it everyday….and I agreed!   It turned out perfectly gooey in the center and not dry at all.  The one downside to a rolled loaf like this is that it tends to unroll once you’ve cut a slice, which can get a little messy for eating.  Toasting it helped.

 

One of the ladies I visit teach was having a birthday just a few days after I made these loafs, so I packaged one up for her.  It made such a cute and easy gift!

Rebekah was this week’s host….hop on over to her blog for a yummy, must-try recipe!  Thanks for such a great recipe Rebekah!  We loved it!

Bake 52 Week 21: Multigrain Bread

May 23, 2012

This week’s host was my neighbor Jen and she went with a super healthy recipe because she is super healthy and fit. The morning that I made this bread, she dropped her kids off for an hour so that she could enjoy the nice weather and go for a run. Did you catch that? An HOUR! That’s about 60 minutes longer than I ever care to run! And she knows me well enough that she predicted right off that I would be leaving the seeds out of my bread. As far as I’m concerned, putting seeds in bread would be the same kind of sin as putting nuts in other baked goods.

I was just slightly skeptical about how I would like this bread. Multigrain bread is typically on the heavy side and I like my bread a little lighter. It was a really easy recipe to whip up though and even easier to eat up. It’s quite possible that I ate at least 1/3 of the loaf myself. It’s OK though…I did it for the baby 😉

As I mentioned above, I opted to leave out the seeds.  I also put my oats in the food processor to make them a little smaller.  I figured my kids would be more inclined to eat them that way, but it didn’t really matter because most of the oats fell off whenever I cut a slice anyway.  The end product turned out really pretty.  The dough rose really well and made a pretty shape.  I shaped my loaf the way I typically do (pinching all the edges to the center, flipping over, and patting into a nice loaf shape) rather than rolling it the way the book suggested.  I used to make my loaves that way and I just don’t think it makes quite as pretty a loaf.

As I predicted, this was a pretty heavy loaf of bread.  I also made my regular whole wheat loaves that day and there was  HUGE difference in the weight between the two.  I’m afraid that for me, the multigrain would be a little too heavy to use as sanwhich bread, but it makes DIVINE toast!  Especially with a little peanut butter!

I will definitely be making this bread again.  I’m not going to hold its weight or the fact that it should have seeds against it….really, the only thing wrong with this recipe is that it only makes one loaf.  You should totally give it a try!  Visit Jen’s blog for the recipe!

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Bake 52 Week 11: Ciabatta Bread

March 14, 2012

I wasn’t worried about this recipe at all.  Bread?  No sweat.  I decided on Sunday morning that I’d make it to go with dinner that night, but when I started reading the recipe, I learned that it’s a two-day process.  There was a one-day option, but I wanted to stay as true to the original recipe as I could, so I put it off for later.

I’ve never made bread that requires you to make a sponge as part of the process.  I felt really weird leaving it out on the counter for a full day….it felt wrong, like it would go bad or something.  When it came time to incorporate the sponge into the dough, mine didn’t mix up very well (and I apologize for the lack of pictures….it was a crazy day and I was running from one project to the other).  I never felt like it got to that smooth, shiny appearance the recipe said it should.  Oh well.  I left it to rise.

The next step required you to turn the dough, which is basically just folding it into itself.  The recipe suggested using a bench scraper or rubber spatula for this step, neither of which helped me feel like I was turning correctly….this step was very awkward for me and I definitely didn’t end up with the “rough square” I was told I should have.  It was more of a messy blob.  Oh well.  I left it to rise.

Soon it was time to divide the dough into two halves and shape the loaves.  This was another slightly awkward step.  Ciabatta bread doesn’t make pretty-shaped loaves….and I guess since it’s supposed to be that way, then I was successful here.  The dough is very sticky, and even with well-floured hands and a well-floured surface, I was sticking to dough left and right.  Oh well.  I left it to rise.

In the meantime, I got my oven pre-heating to 500°, which seems crazy hot for baking.  I put my stone in, hoping I’d have better results with pre-heating it than I did last time.  No such luck.  When I opened the oven door, smoke poured out again and it was evident that my stone was toast.  Burnt toast.  I guess 500° is enough to call all of the grease and gunk of 10 years of use to the surface and then burn it.  I immediately took the stone outside, in hopes that my house would be spared some of the smell.

I have another stone that I rarely use that I pulled out and threw in the oven to heat up.  That stone came out un-burned, but still smelling very unpleasant.  I’ve decided that I don’t care what the recipe says, I’m not pre-heating my stones anymore….it’s not worth the stench!

I put the first loaf on the stone and started baking.  After 20 minutes, I removed it to take the parchment paper off, only to find that the excess flour on the paper was burned….another lovely smell to add to the burnt stones.  At the end of the baking period, the bread came out looking fairly close to how I anticipated it should (at least I think so….it was kind of hard to see throught the haze of the smoke), but we missed out on the smell of freshly baked bread because the burnt smell was so strong.  I was so grateful for a nice weather day so that I could open my doors and windows to air things out!

When the bread was all done, I was glad.  What a process!  And then, as I stared at it, I wondered what I was supposed to do with it.  I honestly don’t think I’ve ever eaten ciabatta bread before.  A quick text to my sister, who hosted this week, revealed that you could do a bunch of things with it, none of which really appealed to me.  Joseph cut a slice and shared it with the kids.  Ryan said “This bread is weird.  It’s really hard to eat.  But we’ll get used to it.” and Joseph thought it must resemble what they ate in ancient times.  Hmmmm….not quite the response I thought I would get after all that sweat and tears.

Emily was this week’s host and she made a sandwich with her bread that looks pretty good if you’re into that sort of thing.  Check out her blog if you want to give this recipe a try (and you should, despite my experience).­­

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Bake 52 Week 9: Babka

February 29, 2012

I was kind of dragging my feet when it came to making this recipe…for some reason, it just didn’t look that good to me (probably that silly nut issue again).  Had I only known how yummy it would be!

I did leave the walnuts out of about 1/3 of the roll, just so that I could at least enjoy a little bit.  And I’m glad I didn’t leave them out of more because I would have eaten the entire two loaves in one sitting if those walnuts hadn’t been there to deter me.  Joseph took the rest to work……….

One downside that could be seen as an upside to this recipe is that the dough has to chill for 10-24 hours.  At first I thought that was a pain, having to stretch the process out so long….and if you need a dessert quick, then it is a pain.  But, it’s also kind of nice to know of a recipe that you can start ahead of time.  The assembly didn’t really take that long or make a very big mess, so day 2 of work wasn’t that bad.

For those of you concerned about heart attacks, be warned that this recipe calls for 2 full sticks of butter.  Really, how can anything with that much butter taste bad?  But it did kind of turn my stomach to see it all mush together in my mixer.  However, all of those thoughts were long gone by the time the babka came out of the oven.

The recipe instructs waiting for 2 hours for the babka to cool before serving, which I think is a crime.  This is the sort of thing meant to be eaten warm out of the oven!  My initial taste was from the heal of the loaf.  It was a little dry and crumbly, and quite frankly, disappointing.  But my next bite was a little bit of heaven.  YUMMY!  The overall effect is similar to cinnamon rolls, but this bread is heavier and sweeter and just downright delicious.  Joseph proclaimed that he liked it better than cinnamon rolls and I might have to agree with him.

Michelle was this week’s host….hop on over to her blog for a recipe worth trying!

Bake 52 Week 6: Challah

February 8, 2012

Welcome to my week to host!

I chose this recipe for a few reasons.  First, the Bake 52 group decided we needed to choose recipes at least 2 weeks in advance, to help minimize the number of trips we all had to take to the store.  In my current state of pregnancy, it’s hard for me to know what I’m going to want for dinner, let alone what I’m going to feel like baking two or three weeks down the road.  But bread is a staple for me.  Odds were high that I’d still be in the mood for this recipe by the time my turn to host rolled around.

Second, it’s pretty.  I make bread and rolls regularly, but I’ve not ventured into anything beyond the basics.  I thought it would be fun to try out this decorative bread.

And third, the recipe had me at “Leftover challah makes sensational French toast”…..if there’s one thing I love more than pizza, it’s French toast! (well, that’s not totally true…but it does come in a close second to pizza 🙂 ).

A couple of added benefits that I hadn’t anticipated was a nice break for the sweet tooth, as well as a much needed break for the pocketbook!

Overall, this one gets a 10 for presentation.  It really is quite pretty.  As for taste…..maybe a 7.  It didn’t wow me, but it was good.  I’ve had bread that has left my mouth watering for more…. Challah didn’t do that for me.

Will I make it again?  Probably.  It was fairly quick and easy and would make for a nice bread to take to a dinner party.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe!  (my two cents added in red)

CHALLAH

Dough:
1/2 cup warm water
4 TB (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk (save the white for the glaze)
3-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt

Glaze:
1 large egg white (left from the egg yolk you used for the dough)
2 TB water
1 tsp poppy or sesame seeds (optional) NOTE:  Don’t add these to the glaze mixture.  They will be sprinkled on.  Also, I think the seeds are mostly for looks, so if you don’t have them, I wouldn’t run out and buy them.  They won’t really add anything to the flavor.

1. For the dough: Whisk the water, melted butter, eggs, and egg yolk together in a large liquid measuring cup. Combine 3 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the water mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.

2. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. If ater 4 minutes more flour is needed, add the reamining 1/2 cup flour, 2 TB at a time, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl but sticks to the bottom. I did have to add a bit more flour to pull the dough a little more off the sides of the bowl.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Mine took longer to rise, and never really got double in size.  I finally just went ahead with the recipe when I didn’t think it would rise anymore.

4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and, following the photos on page 114, divide the dough into 2 pices, one twice as large as the other. Divide each piece into 3 pieces and roll each piece out into a 16-inch long rope (3 ropes will be much thicker).  I had too much flour on my counter.  The ropes got coated with flour, and when I tried to roll them into ropes, they just slid all over the counter.  Be stingy with the flour here!

Read steps 5 & 6 before proceeding, and then read the section “Braiding Challah” for more details on the braid.

5. For the glaze and to braid: Beat the egg white and the water together in a small bowl. Braid two loaves, one large and one small. Transfer the larger braid to the prepared baking sheet, brush with some of the egg white-water mixture, and secure the smaller braid on top. Tuck both ends under the loaf. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size and the dough barely springs back when poked with a knuckle, 45-75 minutes.

I messed  up here.  I failed to read step 6, so I brushed the entire loaf with the eggwhite mixture before leaving it to rise.  I also failed to realize that I shouldn’t have mixed the poppy seeds in with the glaze (a note in the ingredients list would have been nice….I added the one above)….they just sink to the bottom of the mixture and you end up sprinkling them on anyway.

Braiding Challah

1. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, one twice as large as the other.
2. Divide the large piece of dough into 3 ropes, each about 16 inches long and 1 inch thick. Line the 3 ropes up side by side and pinch the top ends together to seal.
3. Take the dough rope on the right and lay it over the center rope. Take the dough rope on the left and lay it over the center rope (aka, braid. I suppose if you are a guy, you might need such detailed directions….most of us girls could figure this out!)
4. Repeat until the ropes od ough are entirely braided. Pinch the ends together.
5. Divide the smaller piece of dough into 3 ropes, about 16 inches long and 1/2 inch thick. Braid as directed above.
6. Transfer the larger braid to a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush with some of the egg white mixture, and secure the smaller braid on top. Tuck both ends under the loaf.

6. Adjust and oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 357°. Brush the loaf with the reamining egg white-water mixture, sprinkle with the seeds (if using), then spray lightly with water. Bake until golden and the center of the loaf registers 200 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 30-40 minutes, rotating the loaf halfway through baking. Cool the bread on the bakng sheet for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, before serving. I baked for 30 minutes and felt like it was a tad too long….the bottom crust was pretty tough.  Next time, I’ll try 25 minutes and see how it looks.

PRETTY!  I was surprised that it came out of the oven looking pretty much like the picture in the recipe book….that doesn’t usually happen for me!

I disregarded the advice to let the Challah cool for 2 hours before serving.  There’s nothing better than warm bread topped with homemade jam!

We made French toast for dinner to decide if it really was sensational.  Again, it didn’t wow me.  It was good French toast, but it wasn’t anything out of this world.

I did enjoy trying a bread that is a little bit out-of-the-norm and am excited to try some of the other bread recipes in the book!

Cinnamon Wreath Bread

November 30, 2011

This is another Pinterest find that I just had to try out.  My first attempt last week was a little underwhelming, but I decided it was because I used a different recipe for the bread and it’s just not the best cinnamon roll recipe.   I had some free time this morning and decided to try it again, using the original recipe, which was printed in the Dec/Jan 2010 issue of Taste of Home.

Cinnamon Wreath Bread

2 Packages ( ¼ oz each ) Active dry yeast
1 ½ cups warm water (110-115 degrees)
6 TBS butter
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
¼ cup sugar
1 egg
¾ tsp salt
4 1/2-5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 TBS butter melted
½ cup chopped almonds
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 TBS water (it took closer to 1 1/2 TB to get the icing to drizzle consistency)
¼ tsp almond extract

In a large bowl dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the butter, milk powder, sugar, egg, salt, and 3 cups of flour. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough flour to form a soft dough. ( The dough will be sticky )

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Punch dough down. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into an 18 in x 12 in rectangle. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and chipped almonds to within ½ inch of the edges. Roll up jelly-roll style starting with the long side and pinch the seam to seal.

Place seam down on a greased baking sheet and pinch the ends together to form a ring. With kitchen scissors, cut from the outside edge to 2/3’s of the way towards the center of the ring at 1 inch intervals. Separate the strips slightly and twist to allow the filling to show. Cover and let rise again until doubled. (About 45 minutes to an hour)

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown, Combine the confectioners sugar, water, and extract and drizzle over the warm bread.

I tend to struggle a bit with rolling dough out evenly and getting nice straight edges.  So one part of my wreath was pretty sickly and skinny, while the opposite side was nice and plump.  Oh well….it all tastes the same, right?

I didn’t add almonds (I don’t believe in nuts in baked goods), and opted for  brown sugar and cinnamon instead.

 

This recipe turned out much nicer than the one I used previously.  And I REALLY like the addition of a little almond extract in the icing….YUM!! I think this is one that will make a reappearance throughout the year!

What I’d do differently:

First, I’d made the length of the roll a little shorter.  Last week, my wreath fit perfectly on a pretty red platter I had, and the hole in the center was just right to put a bowl of icing in for dipping (picture above of the full wreathprior to baking  is from last week….much more manageable size).  Today, the wreath was huge and barely fit on the cookie sheet, which made it hard to get a nice, round shape.

Second, I’d double the icing recipe so that there was enough to put in a bowl for dipping.  However, I’d not quite double the almond extract….I’m afraid it would be a little overpowering.