I really wanted to make a tender, sweet almond bread, with the addition of orange and a sweet almond glaze…. I think I came up with the perfect pastry.
I know that bread making can seem hard, but I promise that this recipe is simple. In no time you will have a delicious, homemade bread to enjoy with your afternoon coffee. Plus, the braid really isn’t a braid, it’s more like a twist…it’s really easy, but looks super impressive.
1)Read through the recipe before you start. When making bread you have a lot of rising/resting time. It takes a while to make, but not a lot of work…which I love about making bread.
2)This bread is best eaten the day it’s made. For leftovers, wrap well.
3)You can check out more of my notes about bread making HERE.
Braided Orange & Almond Sweet Bread
Yields: 10-12 slices
2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water (110-118 degrees F.)
4 – 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
Zest of two oranges
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2-4 Tablespoons heavy cream or milk
1-2 teaspoons almond extract (depending on how much you want)
1/2 sliced almonds
Begin by first preparing the bread dough: Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a 2-cup measuring cup, and add a healthy pinch of sugar. Stir to dissolve the yeast and sugar, let stand until you see a thin layer of foam across the top. Now, the yeast is active and ready to use.
Whisk together 4 cups of the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the center of the flour. Add in the eggs, egg yolk, and oil. Using a fork beat together until combined. Pour in the yeast mixture over the beaten eggs. Then switching to a wooden spoon begin to combine everything until it forms a moist dough.
With a dough hook fitted to the stand mixer, knead the dough on low- medium speed for about 5-6 minutes. If the dough is very sticky, begin adding some more flour about a Tablespoon at a time. The dough is finished when it has all pulled away from the sides of the bowl and is soft, smooth, and forms a ball.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place somewhere warm, let the dough rise until doubled in bulk about 2 hours.
Once the dough has risen it’s time to fill it: Place the dough onto a well floured surface. Roll out the dough into a rectangle, about 3/4 of a inch thick. Pour the melted butter over the dough, then sprinkle the sugar and orange zest evenly over the melted butter.
Now, roll the dough up, starting with the side farthest away from you rolling the dough towards you. Next, cut completely down the center of the dough end to end, turn the cut sides up and carefully twist the dough… I start in the middle. Tuck the ends underneath the twisted loaf. Gently place the loaf on a baking pan lined with a silicon mat or lined with parchment paper. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.
Bake the loaf in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until bread reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees F and is golden brown.
While the bread is cooling, prepare the glaze: In a large bowl, add in powdered sugar, melted butter, heavy cream, and almond extract, beat everything together with a hand held mixer. Add more milk if the glaze is too thick.
Pour the glaze generously over the freshly baked bread, then sprinkle the top with the sliced almonds. Sit back with a cup of coffee, a slice of this lovely, homemade bread, and a friend….Enjoy because we sure did!