Tag Archives: yeast

Cranberry Swiss Zopf Bread

I hope that you enjoyed the holidays where ever you may have been, with the people most important to you.  We had a busy few weeks and I’m just settling back into a routine.  Although I have thoroughly enjoyed my daily naps, hockey games and endless hours reading, it looks like Christmas threw up in here!  It’s time to get things tidied up.

Swiss Loaf- SweetRevelations

Usually, on week-ends, when I set my mind to an afternoon of cleaning, I start off right away with making some bread dough.  I spend a few quiet minutes mixing and kneading, and when the bread is left to rise, I get straight to work.  Must be something happening in my subconscious about settling in for a few hours of work, to make the house in order again, with a sweet, yeasty, warm reward at the end.   I’ve been kneading homemade bread for years and the comfort it brings me is unmatched to any other item I bake.  There’s a swish and roll on the countertop while kneading, sometimes the only sound in the house, as I do my work.  Some of my best thinking happens in these moments.  I do think of my ancestors, living in a simpler time, doing the same thing for their family.  Perhaps my great-grandfather, a cook, baking fresh bread and biscuits for his children!  It’s more about the process for me, the kneading and then resting, allowing the ingredients to do their magic.   A simple task really, that takes a few hours from start to finish, that this whole house gets to enjoy.  This weekly, sometimes daily, mixing and kneading ritual for me, centers around spending time in our home, making it a home, and inviting my family to share in this good wholesome food with me. Not to mention the smell, that intoxicating, welcome home smell, that really is like no other.

swiss bread- SweetRevelations

I regularly use fresh or dried fruits in my breads and biscuits.  Often adding fresh berries, when I can.  For the most part, fresh fruits do very well in breads and biscuits as long as they aren’t overripe and super juicy.  Fruits actually help the leavening process, by adding some extra sugar for the yeast to feed on.  This time, I opted for a pretty Swiss Braided Zopf, a gorgeous recipe from King Arthur Flour, that I’ve made many times.  I didn’t actually mix the berries in the dough this go around, but quickly tucked them in all of the nooks and crannies just before the second rise.  The recipe uses sour cream and eggs and produces a rich tasting, not too sweet, moist loaf, with a tender crust.  Perfect for coffee break.   Or breakfast toast.  Or French Toast.  Or Bread Pudding.  You get the idea.

Swiss Braid- SweetRevelations

Don’t let working with yeast intimidate you.  It’s really pretty straight forward, and with fast acting yeast, it’s almost impossible to mess up.   Most bread dough does very well with an 8-10 minute kneading time.  It generally doesn’t need to be complicated or fussy.  Bread dough is usually pretty forgiving, and you can work on some of your errors the next time you bake a loaf.  As with all baking, it’s a learning process, but so worth it!  At the end of the day, you’ll end up with a stunning loaf that your family will drool over.   You won’t be able to butter it fast enough!

I’m curious to know from you, dear friends, what are some of your baking or food traditions?  Are you starting new ones, or continuing on with some of the kitchen love you grew up with?  This year I will really be more focused on sharing more of my food traditions and stories with you.  I’ve loved writing about my bake shop experiences, but really, the heart of this baker, started a long time ago in my childhood home with some great teachers.  It has only increased as I’ve become a homemaker, in this amazing community with access to outstanding farm to table foods and locally sourced ingredients.  I’m going to share with you more about my passion for using simple ingredients, and a no-fuss approach to creating new food traditions while still embracing the old.  Lets make homemaking the new food trend for 2016 every body!

Thank you, as always for a wonderful blogging year.  I do so appreciate you.  Happy New year!

Renee

xo

  Cranberry Swiss Zopf Bread

*from King Arthur Flour

  • 3/4 cup full fat sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 egg and 1 egg white, lightly beaten (reserve remaining yolk for glaze)
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed)
  • 3 tablespoons slivered almonds

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast and salt. Set aside.
  2. Warm the sour cream to lukewarm in a microwave, for approximately 15 seconds, stirring once removed. Add the melted butter and stir.  Add the flour mixture to the sour cream mixture, then stir in the egg and 1 egg white. Stir until the mixture comes together to form a shaggy mass, then set it aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Knead the dough, by hand, until it’s smooth and elastic, for approximately 8-10 minutes (or use a mixer and a dough hook too if you have it).  Place dough in a greased bowl, cover the bowl with a tea towel, and set the dough aside to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it’s doubled in bulk.  I usually put mine out of the way, on top of the fridge.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased countertop and knead it gently a few times, to expel the excess carbon dioxide. Divide it into three equal pieces, and roll each piece into an 18-inch log. Braid the logs together, pinching them at both ends and tucking the pinched ends under.
  5. Place the braid on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and tuck fresh cranberries in all of the folds and crevices.  Cover it again, and allow it to rise for another hour.
  6. Whisk the remaining egg yolk with 1 tbsp. water, and brush the braid with this glaze. Sprinkle with almonds.  Bake the bread in a preheated 375°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it’s golden brown and shiny. Remove it from the oven and let it cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely. Zopf is traditionally served at breakfast, toasted or not, and makes an outstanding French toast too!

 

 

 

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Reese Krantz Cake

It’s officially fall now, which means I start baking all of the glorious recipes that signify autumn (think pumpkin everything!) and I get back into the routine of baking different kinds of bread every week-end.  It’s something I’ve done for years, and a process that I get so much satisfaction from.   There are so many amazing yeasted bread and cake recipes out there to try, and literally nothing makes the house smell better!

Reese Krantz Cake

I do especially love to make yeasted coffee cakes, or sweet breads, for friends and company.  Krantz Cake is one such treat; a stunning, chocolate-y swirled, sweet yeasted cake that is rolled and twisted into a beautiful decadent loaf.  Once baked, it is brushed generously with a simple syrup that creates a shiny loaf that’s almost too pretty to eat!  I decided to make a Reese version, and bake it in a springform pan instead of a loaf pan, which created this gorgeous twisty cake.  The folks at Hershey’s Canada kindly sent me some Reese Spread to try, and I knew as soon as I licked that first spoonful, it was destined to be in a yeasted cake.

The process couldn’t be simpler, and I easily adapted my homemade white bread recipe to include more eggs and butter.  I left this rich egg-y dough to rise and then spread it with 2 gloriously chocolate-y, peanut-y, cups of Reese Spread and sprinkled it with chopped peanuts before baking.  Once out of the oven, I brushed it with a simple syrup and left it to cool.  I had to guard this warm, delicious cake with my life as others were eager to dig in!  Once cool, the flavor was just as I suspected, a sweet, soft yeasted cake full of little pockets of Reese peanut butter decadence.  Reese swirls everybody! Reese swirls!

Reese Krantz

Don’t be intimidated by working with yeast.  I used a rapid rise version, which requires no proofing and is simply added to the flour at the beginning of mixing.  Most Krantz recipes call for refrigerating the dough overnight, but I’ve opted to skip that step with outstanding results.   A stand mixer makes this process ridiculously easy and there is very little hands on time.  The dough has two rise times before baking, which leaves plenty of time to do other things in between.

Reese Krantz Cake

I’ve made this a few times already.  The last time I promptly divided the cake into thirds and delivered it to friends.  Honestly, something this good is meant to be shared.

Happy peanut-y, chocolate-y, finger licking Reese baking friends,

Renee

Reese Krantz Cake

  • 4 1/2 cups of flour (up to 5 cups if needed)
  • 2 tsp rapid rise yeast
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup milk, warmed to 110°
  • 1/2 cup soft butter cut into chunks
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups Reese Spread
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. chopped peanuts
  • 2/3 c water
  • 12 tbsp. sugar
  1. In a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, add two cups of flour, the yeast and honey.  Stir for about one minute.  Add another cup of flour, the milk, and salt.  Mix until dough starts to combine.  Add another cup of flour, the eggs (one at a time) and slowly add the butter.  Add the last 1/2 cup of flour and knead the dough for 3 minutes, adding an additional 1/2 cup if needed, just until the dough starts to pull away from the side of the bowl.  It will be tacky to touch.  Place the dough in a large bowl sprayed with non-stick spray, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm, draft free area for 2 hours.  The dough will rise very little.
  2. After the first rise, roll the dough out, onto a floured surface, into a rectangle that is approximately 15″ x 20″, with the longest side facing you.  Spread the dough with the Reese Spread (right to the edges) and sprinkle with the 1/2 cup of chopped peanuts.  Roll the dough up into a long tight log and use both hands to even out the long piece.  Using a sharp knife slice the entire log in half (lengthwise), exposing the gorgeous layers of Reese Spread and dividing the log into two long halves.  With the cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half, and then lift the right half over the left half. Repeat this process, but this time lift the left half over the right, to create a simple, two-pronged twisted plait, keeping those Reese layers at the top.  Gently place this twisted dough into a well sprayed 10″ springform pan, winding it as best you can, to make it fit. Sprinkle with the remaining peanuts. Cover again with the tea towel and leave to rest for an hour.
  3. Bake at 375° for approx. 27 minutes.  While the cake is in the oven, make the simple syrup.  In a small saucepan bring the water and 12 tbsp. of sugar just to a simmer.  Remove from heat.  Once cake is removed from the oven, brush all over with most of the simple syrup while it’s still hot.  I didn’t use it all, there were a few teaspoons of syrup left when I was done.  Release the pan once the cake is cool.  This cake kept very well in a covered cake carrier for a few days.  It never lasted longer than that!

Notes:

  1.  This cake can easily be made in two 9″ loaf pans.  Once the dough is twisted, cut it in half and place each piece in a well sprayed loaf pan.  Cover with a tea towel for an hour and bake as directed above.

 

*This post has been sponsored by Hershey’s Canada and I have been compensated both monetarily and with product.  All opinions here are my own.  I wouldn’t endorse any product unless I thought it was fantastic and I’m happy to share it with you!

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Filed under Breakfast, Cake, Scones and Breads