It is definitely apple season around here and so I love that our Bread Bakers challenge this month was for apple breads. I started thinking about it many weeks ago and had ideas here and there but finally decided on my bake. I LOVE how it turned out! I had originally thought to make a cream cheese and apple breakfast braid, but then started thinking about the wonderful flavors that happen when you use typically savory herbs in a sweet recipe. My initial thought was sage but honestly, the flavor tends to bake out and be not very noticeable. So I settled on rosemary... Let me tell you, rosemary and apple is a match made in heaven and in a sweet presentation, is out of this world good. Yum. Seriously. Yum.
Apple Rosemary Braid
makes 20 servings
2¼ tsp yeast
⅓ cup warm water
½ tablespoon sugar
optional spoonful of sourdough starter
1 cup milk, slightly warmed
4 tbsp butter, melted
4 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 egg + 1 tbsp water, for egg wash
¼ cup butter, melted (add a pinch of salt if using unsalted)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2-3 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 Granny smith apples, small diced
2 tbsp apple butter
2 tbsp flour
1¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 tablespoons milk
1 sprig rosemary
For the dough:
In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, combine the warm water and ½ tbsp sugar. Stir in the yeast to dissolve and let activate for about 10 minutes until it is bubbly. Whisk in the milk, butter, eggs, and vanilla to the yeast mixture.
With the dough hook or a sturdy wooden spoon, mix in the flour, ¼ cup sugar, rosemary, and salt. Knead for 6-8 minutes (or by hand for ~10 minutes). Cover the dough in the bowl and let rise in a warm area for 1 hour.
Make the filling while the dough is rising. In a saute pan, mix together the butter, sugars, apples, and rosemary and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until the apples just start to soften. Stir in the apple butter and cook for another 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the mixture and cook and stir until slightly thickened, about a minute. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
When the filling has cooled, divide the dough into three equal pieces. On a floured pastry cloth or counter, roll out each piece into a large rectangle. Divide the filling into thirds and spread on top of each dough rectangle.
With a sharp knife, gently cut a long line in each cylinder to partially expose the filling for the fancy look in the finished braid.
Press the 3 sections together at the top and then carefully braid. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes, preheating the oven toward the end of the rising time to 375ºF.
Place in preheated oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Cover the braid with foil if it is browning too quickly, reduce heat to 350ºF and bake for another 10-15 minutes until fully baked in the middle. The braid will puff up and turn golden brown and should reach about 195ºF internal temperature when done. (I use AirBake sheets which extend bake times for filled loaves, and have a slow oven; baking times will vary.) Remove from oven and allow to cool.
For the glaze:
In a small saucepan, combine the milk, vanilla, and the leaves of the rosemary sprig. Try to make sure all the rosemary is mostly under the liquid. Heat the mixture just until bubble start to form at the edges of the pan. Cover and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Strain the rosemary out of the milk and add 2 tbsp of the liquid to the powdered sugar, then as much more as is necessary to achieve the consistency you desire for your glaze.
Drizzle the glaze over the braid after it has cooled.
Garnish with fresh rosemary if desired, to let people know what the mystery flavor is, or leave it a mystery. It won't be overwhelmingly obvious, but definitely noticeable as a wonderful something extra in the flavor profile.
Nutrition facts per serving:
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to email@example.com.
Check out the rest of our appleicious bakes:
- Karen’s Kitchen Stories: Apple Babka
- Palatable Pastime: Apple Butter Dinner Rolls
- A Day in the Life on the Farm: Apple Fritter Bread
- A Messy Kitchen: Apple Rosemary Braid
- Magical Ingredients: Caramel Apple Naan
- Sneha’s Recipe: Gluten Free Oats & Apple Pancakes
- Zesty South Indian Kitchen: Sourdough Apple loaf
- Cook with Renu: Sourdough Discard Apple Bread (No Knead)