from Kris B.
Making the King Arthur Flour Bakealong Challenge each month accentuates how quickly time flies. It seems like just last week that we were making the Golden Focaccia that was August’s Bakealong Challenge! And here it is, the middle of September already! The signature ingredients in this month’s challenge, Cinnamon-Apple Twist Bread, scream fall to me. The apple bins filling up at the grocery store mean it’s almost time to make homemade applesauce. And, I love the smell of the cinnamon infused pine cones that line the entrance to our grocery store in the fall. Once these are in place, it definitely feels, or at least smells, like fall to me. Now, if we could just convince the Texas weather that 95 degrees is not an acceptable fall temperature!!!
On to the September 2017 Bakealong Challenge, the Cinnamon-Apple Twist Bread…
This is by far is my favorite Bakealong Challenge thus far! The bread is moist with just a slight sweetness to it and the texture is not too heavy and not too light.. The cinnamon apple filling is just the right proportion of fruit and spice. I feel like Goldilocks in my descriptions here. 🙂 The best part about this recipe is that though its twist makes it look a bit fancy, it is super easy to make. And, it doesn’t require any “out of the ordinary” ingredients.
Due to poor planning on my part, I started making this bread at 9 pm at night. It was nearly midnight at the point the bread had been through its initial resting phase, first rise, and I had made the filling and shaped the twist. It needed another hour and a half rise and then to be baked for 30-40 minutes. My day had begun at 4:45 am and completing the bread at this point was going to keep me up until 2am or better. My body said, not so nicely, think again. In the tips included with this recipe, it said that the bread could be worked to the point of the last rise, exactly where I was, and then be put in the refrigerator overnight. It could then be taken from the fridge, allowed its last rise, and be made and served fresh and warm in the morning. It was a sign. My job was to test this variation to the recipe.
The shaped bread was in the refrigerator for about eight hours. I took it out first thing in the morning, allowed it to rise for an hour and a half, and then baked it for 35 minutes, splitting the difference in the generous 30-40 minute range for baking. Once coming out of the oven, the bread had to cool completely before the final step of adding the glaze could be completed. So, it was three hours more the next morning before the bread was ready to be eaten. If you choose to make the Cinnamon-Apple Twist the day before and intend to serve it fresh the next day, I’d suggest brunch instead of breakfast. Or, plan on getting up several hours before your scheduled breakfast hour!
However and whenever you make the Cinnamon-Apple Twist Bread, know that in the end, it is worth every minute of your time whether late at night or early in the morning. And, if you are concerned with such things, it is also worth every calorie ingested when you eat way more of it than you should!
From Tracey G.
As Kris said, I can’t believe it’s the KAF September Bakealong Challenge already! Time does indeed fly by these days, Harry’s in back in school and that makes me even more aware of where we are at any given point during the year! Those lazy days of summer vacation are long gone and feel like a distant memory already – and it’s only been 2 weeks!
This month’s KAF Bakealong Challenge, Cinnamon-Apple Twist Bread (here’s a link right to the KAF Cinnamon-Apple Twist Bread Walk-Through) is absolutely wonderful. I can tell you without a doubt, that I will make this again. The bread reminds me of a yeast doughnut-type taste and texture, and it’s another one of those things I find myself actually saying out loud: “I can’t believe I made this, THIS came out of MY kitchen!”. I love it when I feel that way about something. This rivals any bakery treat in presentation – it looks beautiful. I still look at the photos now (as the bread has been LONG gone for awhile now, Jeremy and I between the 2 of us, had them gone in probably 2 days!), I’m still shaking my head in wonder – I did that. Me. Little old me! Wow!
It is very easy to do. But, as Kris said, we discovered it’s one of those things that while easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, it does take some time. Now, that’s not to say it’s time that you’re spending working with them, nope, it’s rest, rise and bake time. So, while it’s doing it’s thing resting, rising and baking – you can be doing your thing!
After initially mixing the dough, you let it rest for about 30 minutes, then do the kneading, I use my stand mixer for the kneading. It now moves onto a rising phase, which, for me it took closer to the 2 hour mark of the 1 1/2 to 2 hours suggest rising time. While it’s doing that you make your filling.
For the filling it’s grated apple, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and thickener of choice. They give directions for either corn starch or Instant ClearJel as the thickener. I used the Instant ClearJel (which, by the way is one of my FAVORITE pantry items!) and it was a snap to throw the stuff together. Just mix in your Instant ClearJel with your sugar and cinnamon, then toss with the apples/lemon juice mixture. It thickens with no cooking. If you choose the cornstarch route, it involves a small amount of cooking – certainly NOT a deal breaker when making this bread by any means.
Once your bread is ready to be shaped, you divide it, and set one piece aside to work with one at a time. You roll out your dough to approximately a 10×12-in rectangle. The dough is a dream to work with. Initially it kept snapping and shrinking back, but that didn’t last long and it then behaved and rolled out wonderfully. Once it’s rolled, you spread with half of the filling. Yep, the filling is minimal, so no worries there. It’s a pretty thin layer – but let me say that’s all you need, it’s perfect as is! Roll up starting with the long side as if you were making cinnamon rolls (and there is a variation for this recipe to make them into rolls if you wish in the Tips section at the end of it!). Once it’s rolled and the seams are sealed, you slice it down the length to make two pieces. Transfer one piece to your parchment lined pan, with the filling side up. Now, they give you a couple different ways you can achieve the twist, for both of mine, I slightly crossed the second piece atop the first and I worked from the center to one end, “braiding” them together, keeping the exposed filling side up at all times. Then I went back to center and repeated going the other way – it’s absolutely laughably easy!! Really!! Now, repeat with your remaining dough. I baked each of mine on separate pans, but you could do both on one. Their Apple-Cinnamon Twist Bread Bakealong Challenge Walk-Through shows you just how easy the shaping is!
The bread twists now have another rising time, about another 1-2 hours, which once again, mine was closer to the 2 hour mark. Then you bake them in a 350° F, for 30-40 minutes. They direct you to check after 20 to see if they are browning up too fast, and if so, to tent them lightly with foil for the rest of their baking until done. I did have to do this with mine as my ends were browning quickly. When they come out, you allow at least an hour to cool, then glaze! Done!
I’d thought the Golden Focaccia was my favorite Bakealong Challenge, but it’s been replaced with this one, the KAF Cinnamon-Apple Twist Bread September 2017 Bakealong Challenge!! This is so far, by far my favorite one. I still love the Golden Focaccia, don’t get me wrong, but this one is something I have plans for – it will make a fabulous holiday food gift! It’s so pretty, it makes you look like a pro!!! I’ll take that! And I look forward to my next favorite King Arthur Flour Bakealong Challenge! Bake on everyone! 😉