I've been slightly obsessed with cranberries lately. I've been putting them in everything. I love the tart flavor. Plus, they are so pretty and festive this time of year!
Today I added them to a sweet bread. It turned out so delicious. But this bread can be a bit tricky to make. Not the actual bread part but shaping it gets a bit messy. Don't let it stress you out. If comes out in some sort of circle shape and resembles a christmas wreath, you've done well!
But first do yourself a favor and read the recipe through once fully, before beginning.
(If only I could remember to do that myself everytime I try a new recipe!)
For the dough:
2 cups flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoon fast acting yeast
3 Tablespoons butter, chilled
1/2 cup milk
For the filling:
1 1/2-2 cups cranberries
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
zest of half an orange
3 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
Juice and zest of half an orange
To make the dough combine flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Next, place milk and butter in a small sauce pan and heat until warm, about 120F. Add it to the dry ingredients and mix on low for 30 seconds. Dough should begin to come away from the sides of the bowl. (If it seems dry and won't come together add a teaspoon of warm water to the mixture, or if too wet add a Tablespoon of flour at a time.) Mix for 5-6 minutes until soft and smooth. Shape dough into a ball and return to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour.
In the meantime, preheat oven 400F.
Rinse cranberries and let drain. Place them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and roast for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside to cool and use later.
To make the filling, combine the butter, brown sugar, orange zest, flour and ginger in a small sauce pan. Cook on low/med heat until smooth and the sugar and flour are melted and combined. Remove from heat and set aside to cool until ready to use.
Once the dough has risen, turn out onto a lightly floured counter. Using a rolling pin, stretch your dough into a rectangle somewhere around 10x12(ish) inches. (See NOTE on photos below)
Next, fold about 3/4 of your cranberries into the filling mixture, leaving out a few to top the loaf once its baked. Pour your filling onto the the dough and spread evenly.
Next, roll the dough up, longways.
This is where it gets a bit tricky.
Take a sharp knife and and slice the roll in half, lengthwise.
Now you should have two long "strands" of dough and I'm sure your filling is oozing out and you are wondering what the heck to do next.
Don't worry. It's messy, yes. But it's going to taste delicious.
Next, carefully pick up one of your strands of dough and twist it 2- 3 times before placing it on a parchment lined cookie sheet in the shape of a C. Now take the other half of the dough and do the same. Twist it 2 or 3 times and place on parchment paper, overlapping the ends of each piece of dough, to make a circle. If some cranberries fell out during the shaping, pick them up and stuff them back into the dough.
If the gap in the center of your crown loaf looks like it might start to close in during the second rising, place a drinking glass in the center to keep it open.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven 375F and bake the loaf for 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on it towards the end so it doesn't brown too much.
While it bakes, get your icing ready. Combine your powdered sugar and orange juice/zest until you have a drizzling consistency.
Once you remove the bread from the oven, let cool about 10 minutes before using a pastry brush and coating the entire loaf in a thin layer. Next, sprinkle the extra cranberries over the loaf. Let set for about 10 minutes before drizzling the rest of the icing over the bread using a fork.
Perfect! Now put a pot of coffee on and enjoy.