Sunday, October 12, 2014

ABC - Cinnamon-Apple Twist Bread

Whether we like it or not, summer is over and fall is here. I love baking in the fall. Apples and pumpkin everywhere. The smell of warm spices wafting through the air in the kitchen. While perusing through King Arthur Flour's recipes, I came to a screeching halt when I saw this recipe and knew it would have to be a Fall recipe choice for us ABC bakers.

So this month's ABC recipe for Cinnamon-Apple Twist Bread is like one big braided cinnamon roll with the addition of apples. It looks so beautiful when it comes out of the oven, trumped only by the wonderful taste. For me, and others who tasted it, it was love at first bite :o)

Cinnamon-Apple Twist Bread slices (loaf #2). Yum!

If you'd like to join the ABC bakers in their monthly baking adventures, please go to the ABC blog for more information.

I made some tweaks to the recipe. At the bottom of this post, you'll find my entire ingredients list.

Here some step-by-step pictures and my thoughts:

Made the dough in the bread machine and retarded it overnight.

It rose beautifully in the fridge. I let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes. It was still cold when I used which makes for easy handling.

Rolled out both halves of the dough into 12x10 inch rectangles, and covered them while I made the filling at the last minute.

Used two Gala apples with a weight of 12 oz. After shredding one apple, it already looked like I had more than 1 cup. I went ahead and shredded the second apple anyway because it didn't look it would be enough for two loaves.

After mixing the apples with the sugar, flour and cinnamon, it immediately became soupy!

Went ahead and spread the filling over the dough anyway. Once I was about 3/4 of the way done with rolling the dough into a log, the juices started oozing from the sides. I felt like a surgeon, trying to stop the bleeding in the middle of surgery. I finished it the best I could, with a few swear words :o)

The log is done. What? Now I have to cut into it? After all that trouble to stop it from oozing? No way! Ok, I guess I have to. But wait, let's put it in the freezer while I work on the other loaf. Hopefully that'll help.

I found this really good video tutorial and step-by-step pictures on braiding this type of bread on this blog Home Cooking Adventure.

And it did. It still oozed a bit but at least the dough was firm to cut into and hold while braiding.
At this point, I knew I wasn't going to go through that painful process again. So I considered two options: make a faux-braid, like this bread. Or, cook the filling slightly to activate the thickener qualities of the flour. I chose the latter (keeping the first option on the back burner in case "cooking the filling" didn't work).

I nuked it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Yay! It thickened. After cooling it in the garage for a few minutes (one advantage of living in cold MN), I spread it onto the awaiting dough.

Oh what an ease! I had mentioned this "cooking" tip in my chat with MaryJane Robbins @ King Arthur Flour, and she too agreed that it was a good idea. Score! :o)

This time, the rolling and braiding was a breeze. Yay, no more swear words :o)
  After a 1 to 1.5 hour rise, they had puffed up beautifully.

Loaf #1
Loaf #2
My loaves were baked to perfection in only 22 minutes. And my kitchen smelled amazing :o)

Both loaves, side by side. I was curious to see if there's a difference between the two loaves (cooked vs uncooked filling). It's in my "Final thoughts/tips" section below.

Look at that light and airy crumb (loaf #1). Bon appetit!

Final thoughts/tips:

  • First, let's talk about the difference between cooked and uncooked filling. Once the loaves had cooled down, hubby and I had one slice of each. We both liked loaf #2 (with the cooked filling) slightly better because the filling was more moist. Loaf #1 was good too but the filling was a bit drier, which makes sense because it lost a lot of its liquid before it even made it into the oven. If you look at the very first "slice" picture and the very last picture, you can actually "see" the difference. The first picture is more "jam-like".
  • Hubby loved this bread. It was soft and flavorful. He gave it an 8.5 out of 10 rating.
  • I too loved this bread. The reduced yeast and overnight retardation gave it a lot of flavor without an overly yeasty smell. The cinnamon-apple filling was just wonderful. I doubled the cinnamon so the filling created a little party in my mouth. I opted to skip the glaze because the bread was already sweet enough. This recipe definitely goes on the "make again (and again)" list.
  • I made a few tweaks like subbing some of the milk with plain yogurt, reducing the amount of yeast as well as the amount of salt. I omitted the Sweet Dough flavor enhancer and the lecithin. In the filling, I didn't measure the volume of the shredded apples. I just used 2 Gala apples with a total weight of 12 oz, and I doubled the amount of cinnamon. I also used half granulated sugar, and half brown sugar in the filling.
  • I froze both loaves for about a week. Then:
    • I shared one loaf with my friend and her kids. Everyone loved it. Ratings were 5 out of 5 (from N), 100,000 out of a million (from Y - that means awesome), and 10 out of 10 (from W).
    • I took one loaf to work where it was devoured. "Awesome!", "really good bread", "so soft".
  • The original recipe can be found HERE.
  • If you need a video tutorial or step-by-step pictures for braiding the loaf, check out this post on Home Cooking Adventure.
  • Don't forget to check out the other ABC bakers' posts.
  • I'm submitting this post to Yeast Spotting!

Cinnamon-Apple Twist Bread

Dough ingredients:
  • 13.5 oz unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 oz potato starch
  • 1.25 oz granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 0.5 oz butter
  • 0.5 oz vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 7 oz 1% milk
  • 1 oz plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp salt
Put all these ingredients in the bread machine and run the Dough cycle. Let it rise for about 30 minutes at room temperature, and then retard in the fridge overnight.

Filling ingredients:
  • 1.75 oz granulated sugar
  • 1.75 oz brown sugar
  • 0.75 oz all-purpose flour (= 3 Tbsp)
  • 12 oz whole apples (I used 2 medium Gala apples), peeled, grated
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt, optional (I added this)
Mix these ingredients together in a glass bowl and cook in the microwave for about 2 minutes, or until bubbly and the mixture has thickened. Cool completely before using (this can be made ahead of time).

For shaping, please check out the instructions on the KAF website.

Preheat your oven to 375 F (convection mode). Lower the heat to 325 F (convection) immediately after placing both loaves in the oven, on separate baking sheets. Bake for 22 min or until golden brown.


  1. Looks great! I love all of your experiments. I got the same reaction at work too. Lots of hints to make it again.

    1. Haha. I can imagine. It really was that good!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Thanks Rosa. I hope you try it! Let me know how it turns out, if you do.

  3. My father-in-law loves bread with raisins and withOUT cinnamon. Do you think this would be yummy with a raisin filling (or apple/raisin,,,maybe rum filling?) I love your experiments, too!

    1. Isla, thank you for stopping by. I think that an apple-raisin cooking without cinnamon would work really well. U hope you give it a try and let me know how you liked it.

  4. Nice job on the experiments and the presentation. (How did you have the patience to freeze both loaves for a week?!) Now I'm wanting that bread again.

    1. Thanks Paula. I needed both loaves for special occasions so I had to. You're right though, this bread needs to be baked again, and I mean, soon! It was awesome!

  5. This looks wonderful.. I am glad my steps were helpful for you :)

    1. Yes, they were very helpful, for me and my blog readers. Thank you for sharing :o)

  6. Your breads look wonderful! I did the same tweaking, overnight retardation, less salt, less yeast and half brown/half white sugar. Thanks to Instant ClearJel, my filling was not leaky, though.
    A really nice recipe, next time I would use even more apples (I measured by weight, not by volume).
    Thanks for the links to tutorials, they might come handy when I do the bread version, instead of the rolls.

    1. Thanks Karin. I will definitely try the Rolls version next time, and sub some of the AP flour with WW flour. Several folks in our group, yourself included, did the WW subbing and it worked out fine.

  7. This is a must read before baking this recipe. Your tips are invaluable and detailed. The Clear Jel saved the day for me, without having to face the runny apple fillings. Your bread turned out fantastic with all the right moves.

    1. Thank you very much. It sounds like that Clear Jel really works magic in instantly transforming a soupy mess into a manageable filling.

  8. Hanaâ, I really frustrated that the link expires so early. I tried my best to write the post in spite of very little time, and now I can't link it any more :(

    1. Sorry to hear that, Karin. I've extended the Linky Tool until midnight tomorrow. I will also send you a follow-up email.

  9. Your twists look wonderful, Hanaa. Thanks for another great pick.

  10. These look great Hanaa! I really could've used that tutorial BEFORE I made my bread- will watch it again if I ever make them again. Thanks for experimenting with the cook vs. non-cooked fillings- this is good to know!

  11. Your loaves look great. Thanks for sharing the tip about refrigerating the rolled out dough before braiding. The next time though will go with the cooked version.
    A question- when you freeze bread, do you thaw and reheat in oven before using?

  12. Beautiful bread! I love that you are making breads. Homemade is so wonderful.

  13. This is an amazing recipe, I haven't found anyone yet with a bad loaf, eventhough... yes it was soupy this filling wasn't it?! Loved it. Totally agree on autumn baking, apples, pears, pumpkins.. love it.


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