I get frustrated when my pictures don’t show the food very well. This is one of those times. This bread is beautiful, golden brown braid with cranberry filling peeking out. Use your imagination, because my photography just isn’t going to help you see it.
Oh, and it tastes wonderful too! The recipe is from the Country Living: Country Morning cook book. It makes 2 loaves.
Gather up you ingredients:
1 12oz package cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1/3 cup orange juice
1 1/3 cup water
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
7 – 7 1/2 cups flour
2 packages rapid-rise yeast
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbs. finely grated orange rind
1 tsp. salt
Prepare the filling: Rinse the cranberries. In a 3-quart saucepan combine the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the orange juice and cranberries. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly until the berries are crushed and the mixture thickens to the consistency of preserves, about 10-15 min. Remove from heat, cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
Prepare the dough: Heat the water and butter till melted together. In a mixer bowl combine 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar orange rind and salt. On low speed, gradually beat in the water-butter mixture. Beat for 2 min.
Separate 1 egg, reserving the white for later. Add the yolk to the dough mixture, then beat in the remaining 3 eggs and 2 cups of flour until if forms a soft dough. With a wooden spoon, stir in enough flour to make a stiff dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.
Lightly oil a large bowl and set aside. Knead the dough, working in more flour if necessary until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 min. Shape it into a ball and put it in the oiled bowl, turning to bring up the oiled side. Cover it loosely and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour or 1 1/2 hours.
Grease 2 baking sheets (or use baking stones). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut it in half. Shape each half into a ball and let them rest 5 minutes. Use a floured rolling pin to roll each ball into a 14 x 10 inch rectangle and place on the baking sheets. Lightly brush the top of each with the slightly beaten egg white.
Spread half of the cranberry mixture in a 3 inch wide strip lengthwise down the dough. Cut the dough crosswise on each side of the filling into 1 inch wide strips. Fold these over to braid. Cover and let them rise again for 20 min. Brush the braids with the egg white and bake at 350 degrees for 20 min. Brush again with the white and bake 10 more min.
You can see my dough was a bit too long for the baking stone.
Braiding is easy.
I ended up cutting off the ends to make it fit the stone. I have no perfectionist tendencies. Your bread will probably look prettier than mine. I also tried to make a round braid on my round stone, but there wasn’t enough dough to go all the way around. I’ll spare you the picture. It might not have looked good, but it sure tasted great!