Apple Brioche Braid

A popular recipe on our site is the Raspberry Brioche Braid, a pastry Zoe came up with to mimic a Danish braid without quite as much work. Since berries are now behind on us and we look forward to cold days and even colder nights, I decided to try my hand at an Apple version of Zoe’s creation. Since my children devoured the braid in moments I can assure you that is it in fact, quite delicious, and a perfect way to start a day, or end one.

Apple Brioche Braid

(For step-by-step instructions, check out our Instagram highlights!)

1 pound brioche dough made with Red Star Platinum Yeast (I’ve used the brioche dough from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and the Amish Milk Dough from Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day, but you could also use Challah dough or one of the enriched doughs from our The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day book or even Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day)

Quick Apple Filling

2 cups grated Gala apple

1/4 cup apple cider

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Pinch salt

Cream Cheese Filling

4 ounces cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water) for topping braid

Icing

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon brandy (optional)

Pinch salt

To make the jam: Place the grated apple, apple cider, sugar and salt into a pan and stir together. Simmer over a medium/low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring often, until most the juice has cooked into the apples. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. (The mixture will still look very ‘grated’, but the apples will continue cooking as the bread bakes.)

To make the cream cheese filling: mix the cream cheese, zest and sugar in a bowl until smooth.

Take a one pound piece of dough from the dough bucket (weighing on a scale is the easiest way, but if you don’t have one, a grapefruit-sized piece will do) and roll the dough into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle. Make sure to use enough flour that the dough doesn’t stick to the surface or the rolling pin. TRANSFER THE ROLLED OUT DOUGH TO A SHEET OF PARCHMENT. Spread the cream cheese filling down the center of the dough, about 1 inch wide.

Top the cream cheese with about 1/2 cup of the apple filling. You can add more, but some may leak out of the braid as it is baking. There may be a little jam left over to serve with the baked braid.

Cut 1/2-inch thick strips of dough with a pastry or pizza cutter. (Try to get an even amount on both sides, but it’s okay if it doesn’t happen.)

Lightly twist the top two strips of dough, then cross them over the top of the filling. Do not pull the dough too thin or it may break as it rises and bakes. Continue that same routine of twisting the pieces and crossing them over each other on top of the filling, until you are at the bottom. If you find an odd piece of the dough, that doesn’t have a mate, just twist it and place it over the filling. When you get to the end, tuck the loose pieces under the loaf, so they are secure and won’t pop out when baking.

Place the braid and parchment onto a baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic and allow to rest for about 1 1/2 hours.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Just before baking, brush the loaf gently with the egg wash.

Bake the loaf for about 30 minutes or until golden brown (I like to bake this braid on two layers of baking sheets, to keep the bottom from browning too quickly). Allow to cool before topping with the icing.

To make the icing: place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Combine the melted butter, water, brandy, and salt together, and pour it over the powdered sugar, whisking until smooth. It should come off a spoon in a thin drizzle.

Red Star Yeast sponsored this post, and provided yeast samples for recipe testing.

Raspberry Brioche Braid

Raspberry Brioche Braid | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

When my boys were little I took them berry picking. The concept was a good one and in my head it would be like a scene from Kinfolk. The boys sitting quietly by the raspberry bushes, adorably tossing berries into a gingham lined basket.

Watch Zoë Make a Cannoli inspired version of the Braid on the Hallmark Channel Home & Family Show! 

The reality was more Lord of the Flies meets Blueberries for Sal (which is my all-time favorite children’s book). The boys would never sit still in a setting as inviting as this for running and wielding sticks, in-which to sword fight. Nor were they likely to toss a single berry into the basket, when they could just as easily eat them. So, I picked berries, while keeping an eye out to make sure my children were not impaling each other and were accounted for. I got enough berries to bake with, but they were not-so-ceremoniously consumed in the back seat of the car, by the aforementioned sword fighters, on the way home. It was an absolutely charmed day in its way, but not if your goal was to bake something tasty. We stopped at the store and bought perfect raspberries, I baked a lovely raspberry brioche braid, that ended up in ABin5 and I have not gone berry picking (with the intention of bringing home berries) since … true story!

This raspberry brioche braid is ideal for breakfast, brunch, after school snack or makes a sweet gift for your neighbor who just had an adorable baby (as mine recently did). When you have a bucket of brioche in the refrigerator this brioche braid can be put together in a no time. First, I used the berries to make a quick jam, which is so simple and delicious and I recommend making extra to just have around. The red of these berries makes for a ruby colored jam and the flavor is just pure raspberry, no additives or binders. The jam is spread over a layer of rich cream cheese filling and then the dough is folded over the fillings in a pattern that looks fancy, but is incredibly easy to do. The finishing touches are a fresh raspberry glaze and sweet whole berries. It will impress everyone and they’ll assume you spent so much time preparing it. They never need to know how easy it is, until you share this recipe with them.

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Apple and Honey Challah

Apple and Honey Challah Recipe | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Tomorrow I will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, with family and friends. It is traditional to eat lots of honey and apples during this high holy day to usher in the new year with sweetness. The challah dough from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is made with honey, then I fold chopped apples into the dough and braid it into a circle. You can do any shape you like, but the circle is meant to symbolize the full cycle of the coming year. This bread may be ubiquitous at the high holy days, but it is wonderful anytime, especially during apple picking season here in the Midwest. 

Fresh Apples | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (more…)

Braided Peasant Bread

Braided Peasant Bread | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Braiding doesn’t just have to be for sweets. I found myself with some 2-week-old dough (truth be told it was closer to 3 weeks) and it was a little wet to shape a nice tall boule. We always recommend using older dough for flatbreads or baking it in a loaf pan, since it can lose some of its rising power in the later stages of storing. Well, it turns out this older dough makes a wonderful braided peasant bread loaf, with lots of flavor and a really open crumb. Because the braid isn’t as domed as a boule, the older dough has all the rising power it needs.

My dough was made with all-purpose flour, a bit of rye, whole wheat and Platinum yeast by Red Star. Like I said, it was almost 3 weeks old, but this technique can also be done with fresh dough and really any of our doughs, not just the Peasant dough recipe will work great.

Salt Cellar, Platinum Yeast & Gold Medal Flour | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (more…)

How-to: Six-Strand Braided Challah

How to: Six Strand Braided Challah | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

September is the month of the Jewish high holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This Six-Strand Braided Challah, using our five minute dough, is a beautiful and festive way to celebrate. Traditionally for Rosh Hashanah we bake the bread in the shape of a ring studded with raisins, but if you serve any of our delicious challahs you will do the holidays justice.

Braiding six strands takes a bit of technique, but once you have the rhythm the braid goes together quickly and easily. Keep in mind that you are only working with one strand at a time, so there is no juggling to do. You want to be sure to keep your hands and work surface well floured so the strands don’t become sticky as you work.

How to: Six Strand Braided Challah | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

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Mother’s Day Danish Braid

danish-braid191

This weekend I over did it. Not with buckets of dough, but in my garden. I am determined to recreate the organic urban farm I had last year, but this time I am doing it without the aid of a professional farmer. Just me, a bunch of compost/manure and my dad, who happens to be a long time green thumb. I spent 12 hours prepping the beds and getting in some seeds. At the end of the day my right hand (the hand I write with) was so swollen I couldn’t move my fingers, tendonitis. The Dr. says not to use it for 2 weeks ~ 2 WEEKS! (I am typing this with one hand.) In order to do this post I enlisted my friend Jen to help make a Danish Braid. She is a great sport and it turns out quite skilled at modeling/braiding/baking.

The braid is made with the Brioche from ABin5, but you can do this same thing with any of the enriched doughs from that book or HBin5. We’ve done this same technique with savory fillings, so let your imagination go wild and let us know what you come up with.

Happy Mother’s Day! (more…)