Friday, October 3, 2014

shaken, with a twist

After realizing that September's Avid Baker's Challenge was another yeast-based recipe, I was shaken. I mean, we all remember how my "focaccia" turned out: flat and crispy... basically, the exact opposite of focaccia. But I was ready for a redemption, so I gave myself plenty of time to let this baby rise for as long as it wanted to (and it wanted to rise All. Day.).

I wasn't crazy about the idea of apples in the bread, so I only did half the amount called for, and the other half I replaced with crunchy pecans- a perfect complement to the cinnamon and apples. I replaced some of the all-purpose flour for whole-wheat flour and reduced the sugar in the dough because I knew the glaze would be sweet enough. 

Speaking of the glaze, it's completely unnecessary (and I normally love glaze). I even made the glaze with cream cheese so it was extra tasty, but since the bread isn't too sweet it just seemed to overpower it. The recipe makes 2 loaves and one loaf I glazed, the other I left plain, and the plain one not only lasted longer, but it was amazing sliced, toasted and slathered with butter (as are most breads, I realize). 

the rolling process
I read and re-read this recipe, getting confused on how they produced the final twist of the bread, so I documented the rolling and filling process with as many photo's possible, so hopefully you have an easier time of it.

Cinnamon Apple Pecan Twist Bread

Recipe adapted from here
Makes 2 loaves of bread

Recipe Notes-
- I tweaked some of the ingredients from the original recipe: added whole-wheat flour, omitted the potato flakes and reduced the sugar. I also replace half the apple for a half cup of pecans- I love that little crunch, and the apple keeps the bread moist. 
- This bread isn't overly sweet, but if you want it sweeter then add the glaze. I made one loaf with the glaze and one without and I preferred the loaf without the glaze. It'll keep longer if you don't use the glaze. 

For the dough
2 Cups whole-wheat flour
1 ½ Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Tbs. sugar
1 ½ tsp. instant or active dry yeast
1 ¼ tsp. salt
3 Tbs. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Large egg
1 Cup milk

For the filling
½ Cup sugar
2-3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ Cup peeled, grated apple (about ½ a large apple)
½ Cup chopped pecans
1 Tbs. lemon juice

For the glaze (optional- see Recipe Note above)
2 Tbs. softened cream cheese
1 Cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 to 2 Tbs. milk or heavy cream

1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, slowly mix all of the dry ingredients, except the salt, in a large bowl.
2. Add the butter, vanilla, egg and milk, then mix until a shaggy dough forms. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes; this resting period allows the flour to absorb the liquid fully, making it easier to knead.
3. Replace the paddle attachment for a dough hook and sprinkle the salt over the dough. Turn the mixer on to medium and let it knead the dough for about 10 minutes; it should feel slightly sticky and soft. Add a couple of tablespoons of water if the dough feels firm or dry.
4. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise until it's almost doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The amount of time this takes will depend on the temperature of your kitchen; yeast works the fastest at about 85°F, but a longer, cooler rise (about 70°F) produces a preferred flavor.

For the filling:
5. While the dough is rising, make the filling. Stir together all the ingredients, mix well and set aside. Start by adding 2 Tbs. of flour, and if the mixture is too wet, add a ½ Tbs. more at a time.

6. Gently deflate the risen dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Fold it over once or twice to remove the excess gas. Divide the dough in half.
7. Roll the first half into a 10 x 12-inch rectangle. Spread half the filling over the rolled-out dough, leaving a 1/2-inch margin clear of filling along all sides.
8. Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a log, sealing the edge. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the log in half lengthwise. Place the half-logs, filled side up, side by side on a well-greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Keeping the filling side up, twist or "braid" the two logs together, working from the center to each end. Pinch the ends together. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Cover the twists lightly, and set them aside to rise for 1 to 2 hours.

9. Once the loaves are risen, bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until they’re lightly browned. Check the loaves after 20 minutes and tent with aluminum foil if they’re browning too quickly around the edges. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool for about 1 hour before glazing and serving.

For the glaze:
10. Mix together all of the glaze ingredients and drizzle it over the loaves or rolls once they’re cool. 


  1. Congratulations on your yeast bread success - it looks beautiful. I love that you added pecans to the filling, a perfect complement to the apples.

    1. Thanks Zosia, yes the pecans were delicious

  2. I made similar adjustments to the recipe like you did, using whole wheat flour, reduced the amount of sugar and added pecans. Like the way you dealt with yeast!

    1. Thank you! Looks like great minds think alike :)

  3. Never give up trying and look what a great result! You made a 'closed' twisted bread, that looks good too! Well done.

    1. Thanks Lien, yes I closed the bread because I was nervous the filling would just spill out, ruining the entire thing. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to bread

  4. YAY!! Lovely bread. I like your changes. A little healthier. And pecans - yes.

  5. Looks good. Did you think they had enough apple? I would have liked a little more. I noticed you didn't slice the logs in half -- was that intentional? It would be much easier to handle without that step, as once the logs were sliced they started to slide around.

    1. Halving the apples was a personal choice because I wasn't crazy about the ideas of apples in the bread, so yes, I felt that a 1/2 cup was the perfect amount to add some flavor and moisture.

  6. Beautiful loaves Trisha! I'm glad you didn't shy away from this recipe. Trisha - 1; Yeast - 0. Yay!

  7. Beautiful breads!
    I love to read how everybody tweaks the recipe according to their tastes, for me more apples, but, also less sugar and no glaze.

    1. Thanks Karin and I agree, it's wonderful that we all take our own spin on each recipe. Lot's of fun!

  8. The loaves look great. Yeast is not so bad after all, is it?

    1. Yes Sunita, yeast isn't so bad... I just need a lot more practice!

  9. Looks wonderful! I can imagine how good they tasted!