Cranberry Holiday Braid
|Milk||3⁄4 Cup (12 tbs)|
|Active dry yeast||1 Tablespoon (1 Package)|
|Unbleached all purpose flour||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
|Unsalted butter||12 Tablespoon (At Room Temperature)|
|Eggs||2 (At Room Temperature)|
|Unbleached all purpose flour||3 1⁄2 Cup (56 tbs)|
|Sweet orange marmalade||12 Ounce|
|Cranberries||6 Ounce, chopped (Fresh Or Frozen)|
|Glaze||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
|Confectioner's sugar||3⁄4 Cup (12 tbs), sifted|
|Orange juice||2 Tablespoon|
|Vegetable oil||1 Teaspoon|
|Cranberries||8 (For Decoration)|
For the dough In a small saucepan, heat the milk until it measures 105Â°F to 115Â°F on a thermometer or until a few drops feel slightly warm when placed on your wrist.
Stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar, sprinkle the yeast over the milk, stir, and let it stand 8 to 10 minutes in a warm, draft-free place until the mixture has swollen and has small bubbles on the surface.
Stir in 1 cup of the flour, cover with a dry towel, and allow it to rise in a warm, draft-free place (a turned-off oven works well) until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Punch down the risen sponge and stir it into the butter-sugar mixture with a wooden spoon.
Add the eggs one at a time.
Stir in about 21/2 cups of flour and blend well.
Once the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and is too stiff to mix with a spoon, begin to knead by hand.
Turn it out onto a lightly floured board and begin adding the remaining flour by 1/2 cupfuls until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.
Knead the dough for about 10 minutes or until very smooth and elastic.
Place the ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn once, cover it with a dry towel, and set it in a warm place to rise until almost doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours.
make the filling Combine the marmalade, cranberries, and cinnamon stick in a medium-size saucepan, cover, bring to a boil over medium heat, and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Uncover and continue boiling gently for 5 minutes more, stirring frequently.
Remove the cinnamon and set the mixture aside to cool.
Punch down the dough.
On a lightly floured board, roll it out into a rectangle approximately 10 X 14 inches and 1/4 inch thick.
Spread the filling in a thin layer down the center third lengthwise, leaving a small border at the top and bottom.
Cut the outer thirds into 7 diagonal strips approximately 1 1/2 inches wide, so that they are attached at the filling side.
Lace strips alternately over one another and tuck the ends under (see illustration).
Lightly grease a cookie sheet and transfer the braided bread to it.
Cover it with a slightly dampened towel and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat your oven to 350Â°F.bake the risen bread in the middle of the preheated oven for about 35 minutes until it is a rich golden color on top and when lightly pressed with your finger, the indentation springs back up.
Transfer it to a rack to cool.
Prepare the glaze While the bread is cooling, combine the confectioners' sugar and orange juice in a small bowl and stir until smooth.
Add the vegetable oil and stir.
Brush the glaze generously over the cooled loaf and place the extra 7 or 8 cranberries evenly down the middle where the bread is braided.
Let the bread cool completely before cutting it.
It may be sliced and reheated, if desired.