Cran-Apple Swirled Bread
Finals week is here, which means stress-baking commences. I surprisingly have a relatively easy finals week (although my laziness over the semester has required me to go over most of the readings anyways) but my better half, Camille, unfortunately has a pretty ugly week ahead of her. Power on, Camille!
Anyways, now that December is here, I unapologetically listen to Christmas songs all the time, which has got sarcastic comments from the cynics and gleeful cheers from my fellow Christmas-lovers. They always remind of of the Christmas service I used to go on Christmas eve, back home in Indonesia. Of course there is also the fake christmas tree we have had since I was really young and the different Christmas decorations that we’d hang around the house.
This winter break is going to be my first Christmas away from home though, which is going to be weird and, admittedly, a little bit sad. To cheer myself up, I am channeling all my Christmas spirit to all the Christmas baking. I am making a list of all the Christmas goodies I am going to make, which means hours and hours on different food blogs (my numero uno procrastination method) at three in the morning.
This bread presents the holiday spirit and is a form of utilizing the cranberry sauce leftover (still!) and the apple butter that I made. It makes your house smell like Christmas. The bread itself is so soft and wonderfully sweet, without being too sweet, especially with the tartness from the cranberry sauce. I can imagine eating this for breakfast, snack, post-lunch/dinner dessert, completed with a cup of tea.
Cran-Apple Swirled Bread
barely adapted from The Stiers Aesthetic
1/3 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
1 package (1/4 ounce) active-dry yeast
1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
1/3 cup butter
½ tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup apple butter
½ cup cranberry sauce
Activate the yeast by mixing 1 tablespoon of sugar with lukewarm water, and then sprinkle the yeast over it. While the waiting for the yeast to bubble (signs of a live and working yeast!), heat milk and butter until the butter is just melted. Cool the milk mixture and set aside.
Combine the salt, the rest of the sugar and 1 cup of flour. Stir in in both the cooled milk mixture and the yeast mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix everything together while adding the rest of the flour. Mix everything until all the dough is wet and then transfer to a clean surface. Knead the dough until it forms an elastic and smooth ball (about 10 minutes). The dough should bounce back when poked.
Move dough to a greased bowl and cover with towel. Let the bread rises for about 1 hour or until almost doubled.
While waiting for the dough to rise, combine the cranberry sauce and apple butter in a saucepan and heat it through to mix it. Set it aside to cool.
After the dough finish rising, roll out the dough to about 10 by 20 inch (I’m pretty sure I didn’t do this, I just roll it out to a rectangle-shaped until the dough has a 1/4-inch thickness). Spread the cran-apple butter mixture and save about 1 inch at each side. Roll the dough from the longer side, making sure to keep the roll tight. Cut the rolled dough in half vertically and then form the braid. Transfer the braided dough into a 9- to 5-inch pan and cover with a towel to rise until it fills out the pan, about 30-40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F.
]After the dough finish rising, bake the bread until golden brown, about 40-45 minutes. After baking, let the bread rests for about 10 minutes before taking it out and diving in!