Making bread sounds boring, but this moist apple cinnamon bread begs to differ. In less than an hour, you have a tasty breakfast or dessert on your plate. Think soft apple chunks and fluffy twisted dough. With easily accessible ingredients, patience, and some hand skills, your dream can come true.
Some people consider baking a stress-relieving activity. Mental distraction aside, the beautiful smell of this apple bread radiating from the oven can be a natural relaxer. And as you wait for this delicious braided cinnamon bread to fully bake, your stomach might just shrink into a raisin!
But hey! This recipe is all the convincing you need to confirm that this braided apple cinnamon bread is well worth the wait.
You might initially feel reluctant to try this baked good particularly because of having to braid the dough without making a mess. After all, not everybody is a skillful sculptor. However, with sharp eyes and a consistent grip, anyone can shape dough into those delicately braided pastries we see at bakeries.
A generous apple filling with a pinch of cinnamon sugar is always a good idea in bread, pie, or any pastry for that matter. This recipe adds extra juiciness with apple pieces. Without further ado, here is my braided apple cinnamon bread recipe.
- FOR THE APPLE FILLING
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon spice
- 3 cups apples peeled and diced (granny smith or honey crisp work well)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- CRUMB FOR FILLING
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 4 tbsp butter
- ¼ tsp maple extract
- FOR THE DOUGH
- 4 cups flour
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 packets active dry yeast
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 4 tbsp butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg white beaten
- 1 tbsp water
- FOR THE ICING
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp milk or ½&½
- 1 tbsp butter
- ⅛ tsp maple extract
FOR THE APPLE FILLING
- Combine granulated sugar, corn starch, cinnamon. Add in chopped apple and lemon juice. Toss until well-coated.
FOR THE CRUMB FILLING
- Place flour, brown sugar, maple extract, and butter in a bowl.
- Cut in with a fork or pastry blender until it is a crumbly texture. If not dry enough to crumble, add in a bit more flour.
FOR THE DOUGH
- Using a stand mixer, mix together 1 cup flour, granulated sugar, yeast powder, and salt.
- Heat water, buttermilk, and butter until warmed to about 125 degrees. Add gradually to flour mixture.
- Beat on medium speed until thoroughly combined, scraping bowl as needed.
- Add the eggs and 1½ cups flour, mixing until combined.
- Stir in enough of the remaining flour to achieve a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for approx. 8 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Cover and let dough rest for 15 minutes.
- Divide dough in half and roll each half to a 12x14 inch rectangle, trying to keep sides as straight as possible.
- Remove rectangles to the parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Spoon ½ of apple mixture down center of rectangle in an approx. 3-inch strip.
- Sprinkle ½ of the cheddar cheese over the apples.
- Sprinkle ½ of the crumb filling over the apples and cheese.
- Starting at one long end of the dough, make knife cuts approx. 3-inch long and 1-inch wide down length of the dough rectangle. Repeat for the other end.
- Alternating sides, fold strips across to center of the dough.
- Repeat process for the other half of dough.
- Cover braids and let rise for 1-hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Using a fork, mix water into egg white till thoroughly combined.
- Brush egg white mixture across the top of each bread.
- Bake in the preheated oven for approx. 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Transfer from pans to wire racks to cool.
FOR THE ICING
- Combine powdered sugar, milk, butter, and maple extract with a fork or whisk until smooth.
- Drizzle icing across the cooled braids.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1893Total Fat: 97gSaturated Fat: 58gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 482mgSodium: 1243mgCarbohydrates: 218gFiber: 8gSugar: 152gProtein: 27g
This is only an estimate.
- If you want to cut down on the cooking time, you can pre-bake the apple at 350 for about 10 – 15 minutes. It also helps the apples to release extra moisture.
- The softer the butter is, the easier it will be to spread it evenly over the dough. If the butter is rock-hard and right out of the fridge, you can microwave if for 5 – 10 seconds.
- There are ways to adjust the softness of the loaf. To make it softer, you can slightly reduce the amount of milk in the dough.
- If you think the apple filling should be the real star, you are welcome to overstuff your bread. The only adjustment to make is to increase the baking time by 10 minutes. During those ten minutes, you can cover the bread with foil to prevent the top part from burning.
What Type of Apples Should I Choose?
The most important component of an apple cinnamon bread is – yep, you guessed it – apples. Wouldn’t it be amazing if apple season lasted all year round? For this delicious bread, you definitely want firm apples. A few amazing selections include Granny Smith, Gala, Cortland, Honeycrisp, and Fuji, each with a distinct flavor (more here).
The most challenging part is to straighten or sharpen the edges of the doughs, as they keep rising and folding. When it becomes too much to handle, you can use a metal straight edge spatula for the sides.
A paring knife should be enough to cut slits on the dough. If you realize that the slits are too jagged., go over them with a rolling pizza cutter. I also figured that wetting the blade beforehand helps drastically.
Then, there is the challenge of retaining the right amount of moisture of your bread. When you make Apple Cinnamon Bread, you become its parent. If you don’t treat it the right way, it’s going to turn rebellious and nasty. That’s why I want to also add a few tips on how to keep it moist when storing.
If – for some unprecedented reason – you end up with leftovers, you can cover and store the bread at room temperature for up to 4-5 days. To store it for up to a month, you should cover it completely and place it in the freezer without glazing.
When covering, always use plastic wrap or tin foil. The storage place should be cool and dry, like a pantry or counter shelf. Also, keep it away from your oven, stove, or dishwasher, as the steam will make it overly-moist.
- You don’t have apples, but still want to give it a shot? Cool beans, you can definitely use another fruit substitute. I haven’t tried it myself, but I would imagine pear, peach, plum, or apricot fitting very well into the recipe. Let me know in the comments if you have tried different versions.
- The soft filling is where you can go freestyle the most. You can add a cup of chopped pecan, vanilla extract, and even mixed Chinese spice to your apple filling.
- For an extra crust with your crumb filling, you can add a tablespoon of cinnamon.
- For a healthier gluten-free version, you can replace the all-purpose baking flour with gluten-free baking flour by using a 1:1 replacement ratio.
- It is also possible to use coconut sugar when making the fillings.
Baking braided apple cinnamon bread is not as easy as a quick one-pot meal, but it is quite therapeutic and the finished product – moist apple cinnamon bread – will be the talk of the town. Your efforts are going to pay off, with a perfect combination of crust on the outside, and sweet caramelized apples on the inside.
The dream of the final product should give you the much-needed push in the kitchen. Let me know how your baking adventure went in the comment section down below.
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