Apple Rosemary Braid #BreadBakers


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.

This recipe makes quite a large braid, enough for 20 slices!  It freezes wonderfully so you can make the one large, or two smaller braids.  You can alternately make just one roll up and cut it fully in half and twist/cross together as for a babka or wreath.  The recipe will split evenly so a half batch is easily an option as well.

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
    2 eggs
    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.  

After an hour, punch down the dough and allow to rise for an additional 10 minutes.

For the filling and shaping:

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.

Roll each section into a long cylinder (stretching slightly as you go).

Place the 3 sections on a lined baking sheet.

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.

Brush the top of the braid with an egg wash.

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.
(If you do not wish to infuse the glaze with rosemary, just combine the other glaze ingredients to the desired thickness and omit the rosemary.)

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.

To serve, slice the large loaf in half lengthwise and then into 10 pieces for each half for 20 servings.  Wrap well and freeze extras in an airtight container or storage bag.  Reheats well in the toaster oven, oven, air fryer, and microwave.

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

Check out the rest of our appleicious bakes:


  1. I can't imagine having any left for the freezer.

  2. Such a gorgeous braid! I've never thought about the combo of apples and rosemary. I can't wait to give it a try.

  3. This braid looks SO delicious! I love both bread and apples and this looks so inviting. I don't think my family would leave anything left on the platter. Thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe.

  4. This apple rosemary braid looks so beautiful and delicious I need to try this.


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