Makes 1 loaf (16 1-inch slices)
The light flavor of white whole-wheat flour means no one will guess this sweet yeast bread is made with 50 percent whole-grain flour. The rich, sweet dough also makes great, decadent dinner rolls or cinnamon
- ¾ cup toasted sliced almonds
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp. all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. almond extract
- ⅓ cup dried sweetened cranberries or cherries
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp. quick-acting yeast (from 1 ½ 0.25-oz. pkg.)
- ⅓ cup melted unsalted butter or ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1¼ tsp. salt
- 2¼ cups white whole-wheat flour, plus more for kneading
- 1 large egg
1. To make Filling: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grind half of almonds in rotary grinder or mini food processor. Coarsely chop remaining almonds, and set aside.
2. Beat butter, sugar, and salt with electric mixer until smooth. Beat in egg yolk, flour, ground almonds, and almond extract. Stir in chopped almonds.
3. To make Dough: Stir together all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups warm (115°F) water, and yeast in large bowl. Cover, and let sit in warm place 30 minutes.
4. Stir melted butter, sugar, and salt into flour-yeast mixture until blended.
Stir in white whole-wheat flour until Dough comes together. Turn Dough out onto lightly floured work surface, and knead 4 to 5 minutes, or until smooth.
5. Cover Dough, and let rise in warm place 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
6. Roll Dough into 11- x 17-inch rectangle on floured work surface. Transfer Dough rectangle to piece of parchment paper cut to fit large baking sheet.
7. Set Dough rectangle so short side faces you. Spread Filling in center third of Dough, leaving 1-inch border at top and bottom. Sprinkle dried cranberries over Filling. Make downward-angled cuts in Dough on both sides of Filling to create 1-inch-wide diagonal strips. (If cuts met in center, they would form inverted V’s.)
8. Remove and discard 4 triangular pieces of Dough remaining at top and bottom of rectangle. Fold top and bottom ends of Dough over Filling. Fold diagonal Dough strips over Filling, alternating sides and crossing one strip over another to form braid-like pattern. (See photo, below.)
9. Slide parchment paper with braided Dough onto baking sheet. Cover with oiled plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
10. Remove twist from fridge, and let Dough rise in warm place 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
11. Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk egg with 2 Tbs. water until well blended. Brush egg wash over braid. Bake in upper third of oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden. Cool on pan 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
December 2013 p.58