When I saw this month’s King Arthur Flour Bakealong challenge for Cinnamon-Apple Twist Bread, I was really excited to try it. I love cinnamon and apple and the recipe looked both a little challenging and delicious. Turns out, it is actually quite simple to make, but it does take a lot of time as there are many rising times. In total I think this took six and a half hours start to finish. I’m going to be trying it again later this week where I do most of the steps the day before and then the baking and icing just before serving. I’m hoping that goes well and will try to update this blog with my results.
This Cinnamon-Apple Twist bread is absolutely amazing. It might be the best thing I’ve made, or maybe I was just really in the mood for it. It tastes more like a pastry to me than a bread. One option we are going to also try is to leave off the icing and see what we all think. My guess is that it will still be wonderful but not quite as sweet.
Here is a picture of the twist before baking. I think it looks very pretty with the cinnamon and apple filling exposed.
The Cinnamon-Apple Twist Bread recipe below is as I made the bread and the results were fantastic!
Amazing bread, more like a pastry! King Arthur Flour recipe - Challenge for Sept. 2017.
3¼ cups All-Purpose Flour
½ cup + 1 tablespoon dry instant mashed potatoes, unflavored
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
1½ tsp. instant yeast
1¼ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. soft butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup + 2 tbsp. room-temperature or lukewarm milk
1 cup finely chopped apple (about 1 large apple, or 1 to 2 smaller apples)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
⅛ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
⅛ tsp. salt
1 to 2 tbsp. water OR 2 to 4 tbsp. heavy cream
Whisk together all of the dry ingredients, then add the butter, vanilla, egg, and milk, mixing until a shaggy dough forms. If your schedule permits, 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 — by hand, using a mixer, or in a bread machine set on the dough cycle — until it's smooth and soft, though still slightly sticky. 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. If you're using a bread machine set on the dough cycle, simply allow it to complete its cycle.
While the dough is rising, make the filling.
Toss the grated apple with the lemon juice in a saucepan. Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon, and add to the pan, stirring to combine. Cook 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, 1 to 2 minutes; drawing a spatula across the bottom of the pan should leave a track that doesn't readily fill in. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool to room temperature; if you want to hasten the process, place in the refrigerator.
Assemble the loaf:
Gently deflate the risen dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured or greased work surface. Divide the dough in half. Roll the first half into a 10" x 12" rectangle. Spread half the filling over the rolled-out dough, leaving a ½" margin clear of filling along all sides. If adding chopped nuts, sprinkle them evenly over the filling.
Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a log, sealing the edge. Use a bench knife, 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; they should be puffy but not doubled in bulk.
Bake the bread:
Bake the loaves in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until they're lightly browned. 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 a loaf (be sure to position the thermometer in the bread, 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.
Mix together all of the glaze ingredients. Drizzle over the loaves once they're cool.
The dough may seem sticky as you first begin to knead, but resist adding extra flour; that stickiness yields to moist, light texture in your finished loaf.
Yeast dough develops flavor during a longer (rather than shorter) rise. Don't rush your dough by overheating it. Best rising temperature? Between 65°F and 75°F.
For the prettiest loaf, keep the cut side of both pieces of dough facing up as much as possible while braiding.
It's best to under-bake the loaf slightly, rather than bake it too long. Over-baking will dry out and toughen the bread; taking it out when it's light- or medium-golden brown will ensure it stays moist.
If you're not serving the loaf the same day, don't glaze it right away. Wrap the unglazed loaf, then glaze within a few hours of serving.
To prepare the twists ahead, then bake them the next day, make the twists up to the point where they’re shaped, and put them on a pan. Cover them with lightly greased plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight (about 12 hours). Next morning, remove the twists from the fridge, and let them come to room temperature and rise a bit (still covered); this will take 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. Bake and finish as directed.
I decided to try the alternate method of preparation and make the buns. They turned out great, although they were a little more challenge to determine when they were done. We like the bread very soft, so we made the bread on the low side of the baking time. I ended up letting these get a little more brown, and while the result was still excellent, they were a little more dry both in the bread and the filling. I recommend either preparation as this is amazing bread.
To make apple swirl buns: Follow the directions above to the point where you’ve rolled the dough into a log. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough, then cut each log into 1″ slices. Place the slices cut side up in well-greased or parchment-lined baking pans, placing them close together (though not touching) for soft-sided rolls, or about 2″ apart for crustier rolls. Allow the rolls to rise until they’re puffy. Bake as directed, reducing the baking time to 18 to 20 minutes. Drizzle with glaze.
Products used to make the bread:
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