Despite looking intimidating, this wreath bread is easy to make and will impress your eaters with its flavor, too.
By Pallavi Gupta
Just in time for the festive fall holidays and season….here is a recipe for a beautiful bread which inspite of looking intimidating is actually very easy to make. There are quite a few steps involved and a bit of kneading that goes into it but when you see the bread coming out of the oven – it totally feels worth the effort! This recipe is not something that you can make on a busy day – you need time for proofing and kneading etc. Pick a day when you are relatively free and mentally relaxed and I promise you will actually enjoy the whole process of making this beautiful bread. I find it quiet therapeutic. It makes your house smell better than any candle and you get the satisfaction of making something that looks so pretty. I don’t think you need more reasons to try this recipe.
Since its fall, I added some apples in the recipe and that gave a little spin on the flavor and actually made the bread a little more moist. I have made this bread a few time already and have sometimes served it with a drizzle of melted chocolate which make its look even prettier and it would be foolish to say taste awesome.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 large apple, peeled and chopped into fine pieces
- 2 eggs
- 2½ tsp dry active yeast
- ¼ cup lukewarm water
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- ¼ cup butter, softened at room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- Activate yeast by adding 1 tsp of sugar and yeast in lukewarm water. Mix roughly and keep aside for a couple of minutes. You want the mixture to become frothy.
- In a large mixing bowl add 2 cups of flour and mix the granulated sugar in it.
- Add chopped apple and mix roughly.
- Make a well in the center and add 1 egg, lightly whisked and melted butter.
- Whisking slowly with a fork in a circular movement add the yeast mixture slowly. Keep mixing till all the dry flour in the bowl comes together as one mass.
- Transfer the wet mixture onto your clean kitchen counter, and sprinkle some of the reserved (1 cup) flour and start kneading. You will have to knead the dough for about 5 to 7 minutes while incorporating the entire cup of flour. You should have a slightly tacky dough after kneading an adding all the flour – but if you feel that the dough is still too sticky then add a couple tbsp more of the flour and knead till fully incorporated.
- Lightly oil a bowl big enough for the dough to rise. Place the dough in the bowl and lightly brush its surface with oil. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and keep in a warm spot for 2 hours or till the dough is double in size. I usually put mine in the microwave without turning it on.
- After the dough rises, transfer it onto the kitchen counter and punch it down lightly to knock out the air. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Keep one part side, covered while you make bread with one part.
- Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon and keep aside.
- Roll out the half into a rectangular shape of about ½ inch thickness.
- Smear 2 tbsp of softened butter onto the surface of the rectangle, leaving the edges.
- Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture generously on the dough leaving ½ inch on the corners.
- Roll up tightly to form a log, pinch and seal the seam on the long side.
- Leaving about an inch from the top, slit the log in half, lengthwise.
- Braid the two halves of the log and pinch the ends to form a wreath.
- Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and let it rest covered for 30 minutes. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
- Once the bread has rested for 30 minutes, brush them with an eggwash and bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for about 30 minutes.
- Remove from the over and let cool almost completely before serving. Although pretty delicious on its own…a drizzle of some melted chocolate goes really well with this bread.