Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Sweet Potato and Apple Braid #BreadBakers

 Now this is Fall on a plate! A rich, slightly sweet whole grain yeast dough (fortified with @nakednutrition Naked Rice protein powder) is braided over creamy sweet potato apple butter custard and diced local Honeycrisps tossed with raw sugar. Enjoyed for breakfast or with ice cream as dessert, its a decadent twist on a classic pie.

This year has been weird on many levels, but for me the strangest part so far is that the holidays have been a lot easier for me to deal with. I am a total introvert, and the traveling and packing food (cause aren't allergies fun?) and worrying about getting home in the dark on roads in various states cause the joy to be sucked out of the time a little bit. However, I did always pride myself on coming to every holiday event (Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter) with dessert. My dad loves pumpkin pie, for instance - especially this pumpkin apple butter concoction - and since N and I had gone apple picking I had a batch of apple butter hanging out in the fridge in preparation for our holiday.
 
Obviously, 2020 had other plans for us, but N had mentioned a desire for sweet potato pie a few months ago and I had to indulge him! The first one was pretty plain-Jane and stuck to the script I found on One Dish Kitchen with the exceptions of using a pastry (not graham cracker) crust, slow-roasting the sweet potato to draw out the caramel notes and using evaporated 2% milk for the dairy. Since that was a hit (to say the least - it competed and tied with my mom's apple pie) I decided to make another one with a few of my own tricks. I amped up the sweetness with my choice of sweet potato (a purple-skinned, white flesh one, which is candy-sweet with slow roasting) and added in a touch of tang with my homemade apple butter. Naked Collagen added a boost of protein and kept the filling lusciously smooth even with the low-fat dairy and since it's tasteless the maple and spices were allowed to shine.

I used the same formula the next weekend to make a baked custard (having leftovers of pretty much everything on hand) and was wondering what to do with it. At least, I wondered until I was scrolling through Facebook where my friend had shared a caramel-apple braided loaf. I decided I'd take that idea and use what I had - my baked custard and diced apples left over from making mini apple pies for my sister's rats (yes, I spoil them, but they are ADORABLE). The bread dough (of course) became whole wheat and laced with Naked Rice protein (which helped the overall conditioning of the dough and rise imho) and flaxseed, making it a more flavourful and healthy wrapping than the sweet white bread that is traditional. I had to balance out the rich filling somehow! 

Braiding the loaf over the filling is really easy and looks more difficult and impressive than it is. Once it bakes, the plaits separate just slightly allowing the steam to escape and preventing a soggy crust, while adding just a touch of crisp and chew. I had no difficulty slicing the loaf in half to store (it took up my whole cookie sheet) and the baked loaf froze and thawed well without any weeping of the filling. I may try this again for the winter holidays!

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Welcome to Bread Bakers! This month, our theme is Stuffed Baked Breads and our host is Renu of Cook with Renu. #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Sweet Potato and Apple Braid 
Makes 1 large loaf, 20 slices

Filling (a variation of this one from the holidays):
1 medium sweet potato (I used a white flesh one which is super sweet), poked with a fork
1/3 cup unsweetened apple butter
1 tbsp tapioca starch
2 scoops Naked Collagen
3 tbsp maple sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2 cup evaporated 2% milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch salt

Dough:
3 cups whole wheat bread flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp instant yeast (I used SAF Gold)
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup apple juice
3 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp salt
 
Assembly:
1 small apple, diced
turbinado sugar, to sprinkle

Filling:
  1. Bake the sweet potato directly on the oven rack for 2 hours at 325F, turning over halfway through. Peel and mashed into a large bowl.
  2. Whisk in the remaining ingredients until smooth.
  3. Pour into a greased glass cake pan (mine was 9" square) and bake at 350F for 45 minutes. Chill overnight.
Dough:
  1. In a large bowl (I used my stand mixer) combine flours, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, yeast, flaxseed, Naked Rice, water and apple juice.
  2. Mix on low speed with the dough hook until just combined. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. 
  3. Add the butter and salt and knead for 8 minutes, until smooth and supple.
  4. Cover and let rise 1 1/2 hours, until doubled.
Assembly:
  1. Punch dough down and knead briefly, then roll into a long rectangle about 15x10 inches.
  2. Score lengthwise into thirds (don't cut the dough, just mark it with the blunt end of a knife or a bench scraper).
  3. On the outside thirds, cut the dough into "fingers" horizontally (see photo above).
  4. Spread the cooked sweet potato custard in an even layer down the uncut portion of the dough.
  5. Sprinkle evenly with the diced apple and the turbinado sugar.
  6. Fold the top and bottom of the bread inwards slightly.
  7. Starting from the left side, fold alternating strips of cut dough over the filling.
  8. Cover and let rest 15 -20 minutes, while the oven heats to 350F.
  9. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes, until browned and crisp outside. 
  10. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

3 comments :

  1. Bread looks so good, seeing some interesting ingredients used in making the bread.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is beautiful braid. I love the addition of sweet potato and apples.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The bread and the stuffing looks amazing. The braiding looks so good.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for the feedback!