Hello again! I know you might be thinking “more berries? more dessert? REALLY?!” At first, I was sort of with you. How many desserts does one apartment need, seriously?
Okay, I’m totally lying. There can never be too many desserts.
Especially when those desserts are cinnamon swirl bread, only braided and filled with berries.
But not everything can be about soup, and today DEFINITELY isn’t. Because Joy the Baker and King Arthur Flour are teaming up to run an awesome Baking Bootcamp challenge. It consists of four crazy-delicious baking challenges, and anyone who wants to participate simply (okay, not so simply) tries the recipe, and posts a photo of the finished product! Plus you might win cool prizes. But really, the exciting part is the inspiration! And the challenge! And the feeling of accomplishment! Find out more, and follow along, here. And if you do decide to participate, join us on instagram @degreesofprep!
Notice how I caught myself above, before I gave you the impression that these recipes are simple? This first one almost did me in. When I first saw the recipe on Joy’s blog, I knew I needed triple berry cinnamon swirl bread in my life. I had to have it. I went to the grocery store solely for yeast and berries. And I got started right away: made the yeast base, let it sit, mixed it into some flour, let it rise, rolled it out, spread it with cinnamon goodness and berries, rolled, braided, and into the oven! Only… something didn’t quite work out.
That “something”? My own attention span. Apparently when you forget the crucial step of adding sugar to the yeast base (those little yeasts need something to eat!), the bread won’t rise and you get a sort of hard, almost-bread-but-not-quite, crust. Not bad– Forrest and I still tried it out for dessert. But not exactly life changing. Thankfully, Forrest was kind enough not to tease me for my mix up– too much.
I decided to make a third of the flour whole wheat (still King Arthur flour, of course!). This was actually Forrest’s suggestion, and he was right: the whole wheat makes the bread a little heartier, and pairs nicely with the sweetness and juiciness of the berries!
For the cinnamon swirl filling, I used half granulated sugar, half dark brown sugar. This made the filling a little richer.
This time around, I used fewer berries. I didn’t realize you could have too many berries in dessert… but apparently its possible. Who knew?! But fewer berries made the dough easier to roll and braid.
Speaking of braiding- man is that panic inducing! Braiding bread is a serious task. The first time, I rolled the dough into one large log, sliced it down the middle, and watched as all my beautiful berries tumbled out. And then I tried to scoop them back in and weave the two sides back together. Talk about tricky! This time, I sliced the rolled out dough in half, and rolled each log individually. I then wove them, and sliced open the tops after weaving. Significantly easier. I guess technically that’s cheating? But does it matter, if the end result is fresh baked bread swirled with cinnamon filling and bursting with juicy berries? I didn’t think so.
Was my end result perfect? No. I think with one more try I could be really successful. But, even after trial two, it was DELICIOUS. Not too sweet, not too rich, really a perfect summer dessert (except, of course, that you have to use the oven and knead dough- talk about sweat inducing! That counts as exercise in my book). Some things that I would change the third time: I would roll the dough out to be thinner, which would let me roll the filling and berries up more securely into that log, and I think help the whole thing stay together much better. I would also use a smaller baking dish, one that would really nestle the braided bread and support the sides as it cooks (also helping it to stay together).
And finally, I wouldn’t forget the egg wash (oops!). A girl can only remember so many things!
See that photo at the top? That’s me! Which means I needed some help taking it. Thanks go to my sister, Sarah Fitzmaurice, chef at Small Kitchen Big Taste!
- 1 packet yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
- 1 tbs sugar
- 3/4 cup milk, lukewarm
- 2 tbs butter, melted
- 1 egg yolk
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup butter, softened (NOT melted)
- 2 tbs sugar
- 2 tbs dark brown sugar
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups berries (I used blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries)
- 1 egg, whisked for egg wash
- In a small bowl, whisk together the yeast, 2 tbs sugar, milk, butter, and egg yolk. Whisk until well combined and starting to get frothy. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all purpose and whole wheat flours and salt. After 5 minutes, add the yeast mixture and mix with your hands to combine.
- Once the bread mixture forms a dough ball, take it out of the bowl to knead on a well-floured counter top (you could also knead it on floured parchment paper, to reduce the mess!).
- Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough springs back when you press a fingertip into it.
- Place the kneaded dough into a greased mixing bowl, cover with a dish towel, and allow to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- While dough is rising, combine the 1/4 cup softened butter, brown and granulated sugars, and cinnamon. Mix until well combined.
- Once dough has risen, roll it out into a rectangle on a floured surface. Roll to about 1/4 inch thickness.
- Using a sharp knife, slice this rectangle in half (the long way), so that you have two long, skinny rectangles.
- Spread each half of the dough with cinnamon mixture, and sprinkle berries on top.
- Roll each half into a long log, tucking the berries in as you go. Pinch the ends together to seal them.
- Now comes the braiding- don't panic! Starting at one end, gently place one log over the other. Then, lift the bottom log over the top one, to continue crossing them. Do this until you reach the end, and then pinch the ends to connect.
- Connect both ends of the braid together to form a ring, pinching to seal them.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the tops of the bread open, to reveal the berries.
- Place the ring into a greased baking dish. A 9 inch cast iron skillet, cake pan, or spring form works fine-- I suggest the springform, as it is easier to get the bread out of at the end!
- Brush the top of the bread with the whisked egg.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.
- Remove from oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes before slicing.