If you know me at all, you know that the best way for me to blow off steam is to cook or bake something. Between the rhythm of preparing, mixing and cooking, the ability to be creative, the control over the situation and the smells that emanate while doing so, I don't see any better solution on the pharmacy shelf! I must come by that trait honestly, since my grandfather would do the same - and, like me, he found bread to be the answer to all.
Of course, just because bread is the ultimate tamer of hunger and nerves doesn't mean it always has to be a plain old loaf of white or wheat! With the end of a carton of eggs and a container of Scented Cinnamon Honey Butter sitting in the fridge (it's the new "cinnamon toast" staple here), I was thinking about a rich, exotically inspired loaf. Of course, I went back to the Middle East for inspiration after finding a neat spiraled Tahini Bread , this Noon Rogani loaf and this flaky pastry along with my stepsister-in-law's donation of baklava to a family dinner. My mom (my bread-eater) prefers pecans to any other nut, and for me using them in the filling for my version of a spiral bread was only natural, as was using good ol' Canadian dried cranberries and the same local honey I made this batch of butter with. To keep the filling in, I turned to this handy tip from King Arthur Flour and used the whites left over from my yolk-based egg wash. A spring-form pan coated with semolina helped the bread keep its shape while adding a light crunch.
Cutting into the loaf, the most incredible aroma wafts out and boldly declares that it is anything other than the ordinary. It was perfectly moist and tender, remaining so for days, and when toasted was the perfect foil for the Toast Toppers in the fridge.
Makes 1 large loaf, 20 slices
2 cups whole wheat bread flour
½ cup all purpose flour
3 tbsp skim milk powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast
2/3 cup recently fed sourdough starter
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp orange flower water (optional)
2 large eggs
⅓ cup Scented Cinnamon Honey Butter
¼ cup dried cranberries
½ cup diced pecans
1 tbsp honey
2 egg whites
¼ cup semolina, for dusting
2 egg yolks, beaten with 2 tbsp water, for egg wash
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Add the sourdough starter and flavourings, mixing well.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in well.
- Add the butter in small pieces, beating it in gradually. Continue beating until the dough is smooth and shiny, about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Cover and let rise until puffy, about 1 ½ hours.
Filling and Assembly:
- Line a greased 10” springform pan with parchment and dust the bottom with semolina.
- Punch down and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle about 9 inches wide and 3 feet long. Let rest 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine cranberries, pecans, honey and egg whites.
- Sprinkle the surface of the dough with the filling mixture.
- Beginning with a long edge, roll the dough into a log.
- Spiral the log into pan or other deep, round pan, tucking the end into the middle.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place until very puffy, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Heat the oven to 350°F.
- Brush the risen loaf with the egg wash.
- Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until its internal temperature is at least 190ºF on an instant-read thermometer. Check after 20 minutes and tent with foil if it's browning too quickly.
- Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then gently unmould onto a rack to cool completely.
Total Fat: 4.9 g
Cholesterol: 41.4 mg
Sodium: 146.9 mg
Total Carbs: 18.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.2 g
Protein: 4.4 g