Saturday, December 04, 2010

Merry Cherry Bread

I found a wonderful bread book, The Festive Bread Book by Kathy Cutler, in a secnodhand book shop and immediately fell in love. There are so many seasonal festive breads in this book and some nice photos to inspire you.

The section for the Christmas season is, naturally, the largest. Today I took one of the recipes and changed it a bit, eliminating some of the spices, adding almond extract, and using cherry jam and cherries as a filling. One of the biggest chaanges was coiling the ropes of filled dough instead of braiding them. With the rainy weather we have been having, the snails are out in force in the garden, so this bread shape was an easy one to think of. Since the bread rises in the center higher thanat the sides, it also looks a bit like a bee hive.

This would makde a great bread for Christmastime eating...or the rest of the year when you want a sweet bread that isn't too sweet and has the added benefit of nice sweet-sour cherries.

I'm going to send this over to Susas at Wild Yeast for her Yeastspotting event...this week devoted to Holiday breads. Do visit her site to see fabulous breads!

Sourdough Cherry Almond Coil

¾ cup warm water (not over 110 degrees F)
½ cup sourdough starter
4 – 4 ½ cups flour (I used bread flour)
1 stick butter at room temperature
½ cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon lemon peel
2/3 cup sliced almonds
about ½ cup cherry preserves
about ¼ cup prepared sour cherries, drained
1 tablespoon milk
2 cups confectioners’ sugar or to taste

Combine warm water, sourdough starter, and 2 cups flour in a large bowl. Cover and leave on counter overnight at room temperature.

The next day, in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter, sugar and egg yolks together. Add 1 cup flour, salt, nutmeg, almond extract and lemon peel. Mix to combine. Add the sourdough mixture and mix thoroughly to combine. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead in mixer or on a lightly flour surface until smooth – about 10 minutes.

Divide dough into thirds. Roll each, one at a time, into a 14 – 16 inch rope. Use your fingers to flatten the rope about 4 inches wide. Down the center of the long oval spoon a thin line of preserves and then place the cherries down the line. Using fingers moistened with water, moisten along one long side of the oval. Pick up the opposite long side, a little at a time and fold toward the center, overlapping the filling, then, using the other hand, pull the moistened long side over that, pinching to seal. Continue down the long sides of the oval. Pinch the ends to seal. When all three ropes have been filled and sealed, beginning in the middle of a silicon mat or parchment lined large baking sheet, coil the ropes like a snail shell or coil or rope, pinching the ends together as you go and tucking the last end under the loaf.

Place a piece of parchment over the loaf, then a damp tea towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Toward the end of the hour preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove tea towel and parchment. Bake in preheated oven for about an hour, or until golden brown, turning the baking sheet around about half way through the hour of baking time.

Remove from oven and let cool on a rack. When cool, mix together the milk and confectioners’ sugar to make a glaze or drizzle and use to glaze or decorate the loaf. Let the glaze or drizzle dry and the loaf cool completely before serving. (If you like you can decorate the glaze or drizzle with more sliced almonds.)

Makes 1 large loaf. (You could also shape the three filled ropes into a braid and continue the rest as written.)

Happy Holidays! XO Elle


  1. Looks like a great bread.
    Cherries in wintertime are always a winner.

  2. I love how whenever you post a recipe you start out telling all the changes you've made. You are one creative force in the kitchen! The bread looks and sounds delicious - my kind of snail!

  3. This looks delicious and very festive in its ring/braid design. Love the flavour combo