Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Autumn Harvest Braid

I found this delightful sweet braided bread recipe in a book from the used book store. It features seasonal festive breads. This one has golden raisins and I added dried cranberries, too. The orange zest was doubled once I smelled it as I was grating...cranberries and orange are a great combo, so it just seemed the thing to do.

It tastes great without icing, but I iced half the loaf with an icing that included vanilla and some more orange zest, then sprinkled on some sliced almonds before the icing set. Delicious! The recipe called for candied cherries on top, too. Might do that if I make this bread again for Christmas, but it was fine without.

Autumn Festival Bread
from The Festive Bread Book by Kathy Cutler

“This rich, hearty bread, flecked with cherries and slivered almonds, goes well with thankgiving dinner or as a snack in the evening.”

Makes 1 loaf

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (105 – 115 degrees F)
2 ¼ - 3 cups unbleached bread flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (colored part only)
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons golden raisins
¼ cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup warm milk (105 – 115 degrees F)
1 egg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Glaze (below)

Confectioners’ Icing (below)

slivered or sliced almonds

Candied cherries

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Combine 1 ½ cups flour, salt, orange zest, raisins, dried cranberries and sugar in mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Mix together the warm milk and egg. Add the milk mixture, yeast mixture and butter to the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth, about 10 minutes.

Place in greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in warm place until double in bulk – about 1 hour.

Punch down dough. Divide the dough into thirds. Make three ropes. Braid on a greased, parchment covered, or silicon mat covered baking sheet.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until double – about 30 -45 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes.

Make the glaze. Remove the loaf from the oven and brush with the glaze. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and return the loaf to the oven. Bake an additional 30 – 35 minutes or until done.

Cool on a wire rack.

Make the Confectioners’ Icing, then drizzle it over the cool loaf. Sprinkle with the almonds and candied cherries to decorate. Let the icing dry before serving.

Glaze: Mix 1 egg with 1 tablespoon water. Use a pastry brush to glaze the partially baked bread.

Confectioners Sugar icing: Mix together 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest and 1-2 tablespoons milk.
Sending this to the weekly wonderful event that is Yeastspotting at Susan's Wild Yeast...go there and drool over the bread being baked by the fantastic bakers featured will be glad you did! Here is the URL for Susan's blog :


  1. This loaf of bread looks awesome, Elle!

  2. Oh, this looks like a stollen! I am so ready to be eating breads like this. I'm feeling a baking weekend coming on...

  3. I'm coming over for bread and tea :)

  4. Autumn loaves just call for plum jam.

  5. Anh, It was delicious! Feel like baking?

    Tanita, It is like stollen, but not as rich, nor as sweet. Doesn't even need butter.

    Cynthia, Come on over...I'll put the kettle on.

    Andreas, Plum jam does sound perfect with it...guess I'll have to make some.

  6. What, Autumn bread?!? Nah - that's CHRISTMAS bread! Agreeing with Tanita: stollen!

  7. What a gorgeous bread. I bet it was really tasty!

  8. DaviMack, Geeze, just because I put cranberries in it, now it's Christmas bread? Think of the grape harvest in autumn and golden raisins...besides it really isn't as rich as a good stollen. The book called it by that title, too :)

    Mimi, It was tasty...must make another one.

  9. It looks perfect. I love how the fruit is neatly tucked away inside the bread.

  10. This looks so good, especially with the glaze, and the photos are even better than the one you sent to Wild Yeast!

  11. The bread is gorgeous!

  12. Wow... That loaf looks like it would be right at home on any holiday table! Definitely something for a special occasion, this looks like it would be worth celebrating by itself.

  13. That is a gorgeous looking loaf. And I love that it is glazed.

  14. I am from Michigan. I love to bake and I saw your bread recipe on your recipe post. Autumn Harvest braid was wonderful. I used regular raisins ( I soaked them in water first).I also used michigan dried cherries instead of cranberries. The glaze I used the juice from the orange with the confectioner sugar. My husband smelled the delicious aroma when he came in from hunting. I sliced it warm and served with coffee. It was excellent,it was worth the work in my kitchen. I would make it again.
    Thank you.
    Mary Elizabeth