I’ve just returned from an incredible week in Denver. I was there working with Craftsy to create another class, this time on show stopping cheesecakes (it will be out in a few weeks). I love working the with the Craftsy team. They work hard and laugh harder. We spent months developing the class concept, all the materials/recipes and then got together for 4 days of non-stop baking and filming. I like to think I’m a hard worker, but then I see the folks at Craftsy and I realize how much more a human can do in a single day when they work as a team. I loved it. Not only the work, but also the people. Writing books and blogging are two pretty solitary jobs, so having 5 days in the kitchen with their crew was a blast. It’s fun to watch other people create beautiful food. It is also fun to see my recipes come to life.
As we were prepping all the cheesecakes for my class, Victoria, the kitchen assistant extraordinaire, told me about a bread she bakes for her young daughter. Victoria helped me on my Craftsy bread class* and played with the recipe to create a rainbow of colors with it. Brilliant. I immediately thought of a Valentine’s Day Bread with swirls of pink and red.
*If you haven’t checked out our Artisan Bread in Minutes class on Craftsy, I am always so happy to have new bakers join the class. If you’re interested be sure to use this link to sign up, you’ll get $20 off. It makes a lovely Valentine’s Day Gift for the baker in your life.
Red Swirled Valentine’s Day Bread:
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 tablespoon Platinum Red Star Yeast
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more butter for the loaf pan
7 1/2 (1065g) cups all-purpose flour (measure with scoop and sweep)
Egg white wash – egg white mixed with 1 teaspoon water
Red Sprinkles for top
In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the water, Platinum yeast, salt, eggs, honey and butter together. Add the flour and mix on low until combined.
I like to use gel colors, because you get a more intense color and they are neater than the paste. But, if you have one you like to use, any will work. You are going to be adding color, then dividing the dough and adding more color, so you’ll end up with 4 bowls of dough in the end.
Start out with a little color, so the first batch is a pale pink.
Take one pound of the pink dough out, then add more color and mix in thoroughly. Remove another pound of this slightly darker dough. Repeat two more times.
You’ll end up with four bowls of dough, ranging from light pink to dark red.
Loosely cover the containers and let sit for about 2 hours so the dough can rise. You can use it right away or refrigerate the dough for up to 5 days.
When you are ready to make the bread, form each colored dough into a ball
and roll them into 1/8-inch-thick rectangles.
Repeat with the other colored doughs and then stack them on top of each other.
You want them all to be the same size and thickness.
Once they are all stacked, roll the dough out to be about 1/4-inch-thick.
Starting on the long end of the rectangle, roll the dough into a log.
Cut the log in two equal pieces. The layers will be very distinct when you cut them.
Take one of the logs and cut it lengthwise, down the middle. wrap and refrigerate the other log for another loaf.
Twist the two pieces, keeping the cut side facing up.
You will end up with a twisted rope.
Place it into a well buttered Loaf Pan and brush with egg white wash. You don’t want to use the full egg or it will change the color of the bread too much when it is baked.
Let the loaf rest for about 90 minutes (45 if you are using non-refrigerated dough). Brush with more egg white wash and sprinkle with red sugar sprinkles.
Preheat oven to 325°F
Bake the loaf on the middle rack for about 45 to 50 minutes or until the top feels firm when pressed.
Remove the loaf and let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes.
Turn the loaf out of the pan and let cool to room temperature.
Happy Valentine’s Day!