Monday, December 22, 2008
Wreathed In Bread
This month I have the honor and privilege of being the host kitchen for this month's bread baking adventure with the intrepid Bread Baking Babes. When I found out I was assigned to December I knew immediately what I wanted to do - a wreath. The recipe I chose has a sweet, almond filling, but I know that not everyone tilts toward sweet on the sweet/ savory scale, so I gave the Babes free reign to do whatever they wanted in terms of dough and filling, so long as it was in the shape of a wreath. I made the recipe as I found it in the cookbook, but be sure to check out what all the other fabulous Babes have made (their websites are on the side bar). Their creativity knows no bounds!
And if you are inspired to make a wreath for your own celebration, make one, post it and send me a link by the 31st (as lynncraigATcomcastDOTnet) and I will send you a Baking Buddy badge to proudly display on your website.
- adapted from Betty Crocker's International Cookbook
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 deg. F)
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
3-1/4 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Almond Filling (below)*
Glaze (also below)
1-Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in milk, sugar, butter, egg, cardamom, salt and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.
2-Turn dough onto lightly floured surface: knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl; trun greased side up. Cover and let rise in warm place until double, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
3-Prepare Almond Filling-
Mix together until smooth:
1/2 cup almond paste
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup softened butter
4- Punch down the dough. Roll into rectangle, 15 x 9-inches, on a lightly floured surface. Spread with the filling to within 1/4-inch of the edges. (I don't think my butter was soft enough as my filling didn't spread. I took bits of it, flattened it between my fingers and pressed that onto the dough.) Roll up tightly, beginning at the wide side. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal well. Stretch roll to make even. With sealed edge down, shape into ring on lightly greased cookie sheet. Pinch ends together.
5- With scissors or kitchen shears, make cuts 2/3 of the way through the ring at 1-inch intervals. Turn each section on it's side (90 degree turn), to show off the pretty swirled filling. Cover loosely with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray. Let rise until double, about 40 to 50 minutes.
6- Heat oven to 350 deg. F. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. (If it browns too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil.)
7 - Make Glaze-
Mix until smooth:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla
(add additional water 1/2 tsp at a time, if necessary)
8- Spread Glaze over the wreath. You can decorate your wreath with nuts, dried fruit, marzipan fruit, or whatever strikes your fancy.
* If almond paste is not available, or if you fall down in the aisle at the grocery store when you see the price, you can make your own. In a food processor finely grind 8 oz blanched almonds. Process in 8 oz powdered sugar. Then knead in 1 egg white. Store in the refrigerator.
So, there you have it. A lovely, tasty, festive wreath!