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Almond Russian Braid for the New Year!

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SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Almond Russian Braid for the New Year!

This is my first time making an Almond version or any version of a Russian Braided loaf and second attempt at posting it..a lot of writing today 'lol'..did better after going out to the movies!  A recipe from 'Baking Artisan Pastries & Breads' Ciril Hitz forward by Peter Reinhart


This bread is every bit delicious and rich as it looks...a real pleaser!  What a lovely gift it makes too!


BASIC SWEET DOUGH


1.  Whole Milk - I used 2% - 365g


2.  Eggs - I used 1 large and one yolk for sealing seam - recipe calls for 50g for dough


3.  Vanilla bean (optional) I used apx. 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract or to taste.


4.  Bread flour - King Arthur All Purpose used -660g


5.  Granulated sugar -70g-  I used fine bakers sugar


6.  Salt - 13g


7.  Malt, diastatic - 7g


8.  Lemon zest - from 1/2 of lemon


9.  Unsalted butter - 70g


10.  Instant yeast - preferably osmotolerant , I used the osmotolerant - 13g or 3 teaspoons


 


The Day Before Baking


1.  Bring the milk and egg to room temperature...If you use a vanilla bean..split and remove, scrape out seeds. Add to milk.  I added the vanilla extract to the ingredients.


2. Pour the liquids into a 5-quart stand mixer.  I used my KAArtisan mixer and made pauses to keep the motor from overworking.  Add the bread flour and instant yeast,sugar, salt, malt, and lemon zest.  Mix on low speed until the dough comes together (cleanup stage).  Scrape the dough down off the hook from time to time.


3. Soften the butter to a plastic stage.  Increase the mixing speed to medium and slowly add the softened butter in stages.  Make sure each addition is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next.


4.  When the dough is fully developed, check for a good window pane.  Place into a plastic container sprayed with oil and ferment for 2 hours, room temperature.


5.  After bulk fermentation, place on a sheet pan lined with parchment.  I sprayed the parchment with a little oil.  Cover with plastic and place into the refrigerator overnight.  


BAKING DAY


Remove the dough from the refrigerator.


I rolled the dough out on a lightly floured board to apx. 16" by 1/4" thick, this gives you a nice width to your dough.


NUT FILLING - Can be repaired the night before


Nut Flour - I used Almond Flour - 125g


the recipe calls for corn syrup  25g or 1 1/2TBsp.  I use Lyle's Golden Syrup 2 TBsp. apx.


Water - Up to 60g - 6 TBsp.


If you use pistachio paste you can add 1/2 tsp. lemon zest


Combine the ingredients except for the water, blend by hand and you also add 1/4 tsp. cinnamon.  I didnot add cinnamon.


Slowly add water until you get a nice spreadable consistancy and can be used on the day of use to help desired spreading consistancy.


2.  Spread a thin layer of filling over the entire surface of the dough, except leave 1 inch of a long end free of filling.


3.  Brush the plain dough edge with a bit of egg wash.  I make a wash with a pinch of salt and an egg yolk.  Roll up the dough evenly into a long log and seal the edge to the roll.


4.  For each pan cut the log 2 inches longer than the pan.  I set my pan down next to log and cut it 2" longer on both sides.


5.Take a sharp knife and slice down the length of the rolls.  Separate and twist two sections together two or three twists, keeping exposed layers facing up.


6.  Place the twisted strands into the prepared loaf pans.  Cover and let proof at room temperature until nearly doubled.  at least 1 hour.


7.  Preheat Oven 325F convection for 30min and bake for 40 -45 minutes until dark golden brown...Reduce temperature if they darken to fast.


 


SUGAR GLAZE:


Vanilla Bean (optional)  I used 1 tsp of vanilla and 1 teaspoon of almond extracts.


Milk - Up to 35 g - 2 TBsp.


Powdered sugar 150g - 1 1/4 cups


Lyle's Golden syrup - or light corn syrup -1 TBsp.


 


                                I used 2 - 41/2 X 81/2 lightly oil loaf pans -  This recipe is stated in the book to YIELD - 1 loaf 9 X 4 X 3 plus some extra for cinnamon buns. 


 


INGREDIENTS


Nut Filling


Sugar Glaze


Egg Wash


Basic Sweet Dough


Chopped nuts for garnish


 


                   


          Proofing  -  Note:  My new MacBook Pro above...it's all very new to me :) and I love it.  I'm used to my old Windows XP ... so I'm still learning on this one.


I haven't quite figured out all about photo's yet, but getting there slowly but surely...nothing as fun as learning how to work a new PC for this grandma!


 


Back to the Russian Braid.


 


 


                          


 


              


 


 


 


                                


 


                                            Submitted to Yeastspotting


 


 


 


             Happy New Year!


                Sylvia


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

Comments

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Sylvia,


Happy New Year to you!


The recipe looks fantastic, and I'm sure you made a great job of it, as your baking is always top notch.   Unfortunately, I can't see the photos, but I'm sure you'll soon work out how to re-post on your new pc.   A mac notebook sounds like a great new toy!


All the best


Andy

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I thank you for the very nice compliment!  I will definately be making this one again...I think it's appearance makes it even more delicous..ahhh eye candy :)  I wish you could see the loaves..the photos are posting for some I think...but then I think you may be kidding me...I wrote this whole thing out twice today and messed up with the photos to large and had to delete the whole thing..oh my, that was so frustrating.....you gotta be joking for me to re-post...'lol'...a big hug for you this New Years!


Sylvia

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Sylvia, Your Russian Braids look really pretty! I love Ciril Hitz's Basic Sweet Dough formula and have gone back to it several times; it rolls out really well and has a great flavor with the lemon and vanilla. It looks like you did a very good job mixing and shaping, and it's a very nice looking crumb. The glaze and almonds on top look really yummy too. I thought I was done with sweets for a little while as the holiday season draws to a close, but I see these Braids and am thinking a little taste would be so good!!!  from breadsong

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

breadsong, thank you...you can see my photos!  'lol'


Sylvia

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Sylvia,


Very fine bread indeed.   I think the icing would hurt my teeth, as it looks VERY sweet.   But the bread and filling look great


A

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Sweet icing, my weakness and I know many don't care for to sweet...it would be lovely without any icing and show the patterns off better too...the icing covers up all that lovely braid.


Sylvia

arlo's picture
arlo

Wonderful work Sylvia!

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I always appreciate your comments.  Have a wonderful year ahead!


Sylvia

Syd's picture
Syd

Gorgeous looking loaves, Sylvia.  A real treat for the eyes.  Would love to try some. :)


Syd

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

For the very nice compliment!


Sylvia

LeeYong's picture
LeeYong

hi Sylvia!


Did it go with some hot coffee/tea? very nice indeed! happy new year! Can you replace the malt with brown sugar?


thanks,


leeyong

plevee's picture
plevee

A pity to cover the gorgeous top details with icing though!  Patsy


 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

First thing I noticed applying the thick glaze.  But, the top can be covered in a very, very thin glaze...it is supposed to be and, was applied when the loaves where still very hot from the oven..this makes the glaze more transparent.  My family likes the sweet glaze so this one was thicker and applied heavier.


Sylvia


 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

One went to my family and the other stayed home and was enjoyed with a lovely cup of hot tea...Mike likes his with milk when he comes in from work.


Diastatic Malt Powder is added to yeast dough; its active enzymes help yeast grow fully and efficiently throughout the fermentation period, resulting in better texture, more flavor, and improved shelf life in the finished loaf.  I don't think the recipe needs anymore sugar added.


Sylvia

wally's picture
wally

The braid looks delicious - with and without the lovely icing!  What a way to start the day with that and some fresh coffee.  It would certainly get me out of bed in the morning!


Do you scald the milk to denature it or is it not necessary?


More good baking in 2011!


Larry

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Guess what, I usually do scald my milk and, completely forgot too, with these loaves, until you just reminded me.  Guess it was ok.  I know my yogurt only works with scalded milk and so I do prefer it scalded in recipes for bread.  The recipes I usually make I use the powered milk from KA and I quess that's made me lazy and forgetfull...I could have used powered in this recipe and water...hummm, maybe next bake.  I do like saving my milk to drink.


 


Sylvia

MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

Both the loaves and the photographs are superb. I can't believe this was your first attempt. Nice Job!

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Hey, same name as my husband and the last intial : ) I like when my bakes are done early in the day, photos come out so much better in the natural light.  I did learn a lot from this first attempt to apply on the next bake.


Sylvia

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Sylvia--


That is a BE-A-Utiful loaf.  What artistry!


The recipe sounds like just my kind of thing.  But, after all the sweets last week, I promised to make only lean breads for the next month.  Hmmm, maybe I said two weeks.


Happy New Year!


Glenn

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

These are delicous and fun to shape.  The grandkids, daughter and SIL consumed one for breakfast this morning...made a nice gift.  I was pretty good over the holidays, eating very little desserts, gave away a lot and lost a few.


Have a Great New Year!


Sylvia


 


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I'd call those "babkas." Whatever ... They look delicious. I'd forego the sugary topping, myself. Maybe a simple syrup to get the almonds to stick.


David

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Thank you, David!  I kept wanting to call them Babkas too!  Ciril Hitz refers to the recipe of sweet dough with several variations to pick for shaping...I picked the Russian Braid with almonds.


They are glazed sweetly and would be fantastic just left plain...next round, I will thicken the nut filling adding a little chopped walnuts or slivered almonds to the floured walnuts or almonds, half the golden syrup/extracts, a little more water for spreading consistancy and a clear very thin sugar glaze .  


Sylvia 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Real eye candy, Sylvia!


But I agree with Patsy, Andy and David - I would skip the icing, beautiful as it is. The undecorated loaves look appetizing enough, and I don't like it too sweet, either.


Happy 2011 baking,


Karin

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I think you would also enjoy the filling a less sweeter..it is a sweet filling and could less sweet and be more nuttier.


Best of Baking to you and yours in the New Year!


Sylvia

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Awesome, Sylvia!


I'd be afraid to bake something like that.  No will power.  I'd wind up waddling to work!

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Your will power is a lot better than mine!  Thank goodness!  I do have a lot of consuming helpers.  I just love baking pastries along with breads.


Sylvia

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

I'm gaining weight just looking!  Those are gorgeous loaves Sylvia.


OldWoodenSpoon

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I just think of it this way...a slice is so much more less fattening than big ole slice of cake!


Sylvia

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Really lovely, Sylvia! Now with your ingenious steaming technique, you have an endless opportunity for success.


khalid

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

and Happy baking for the New Year ahead!


Sylvia

franne's picture
franne

I think those loaves look beautiful and delicious just the way they are.  I would love to have a thick slice, cup of tea and sit in front of the fire...


:)

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

the plan...'let them eat cake'!  


Thank you for the compliment!  


Mike loves the glazed loaves and so did the rest of the family, not to say they wouldn't pass them up plain either...we are not a picky family when it comes to sweet breads! Pick a photo or two..it's about 50/50 choice now ;)


Sylvia

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Sylviah, it's really a masterpiece. Absolute beauty!

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

For you kind response!


Sylvia

EvaB's picture
EvaB

I think I've gained five pounds so far reading about the wonderful bakes, and now this!!!! I have to try this out, and it looks so absolutely delicious, but will use the thinner version of the glaze because of the diabetes, but the thick one looks great!

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I would think this recipe is not good for anyone with diabetes, because of the amount of sugars used, but I'm sure your much more aware of what you can and connot eat.


Sylvia

Franko's picture
Franko

These sweet loaves you've made look delicious, and the braiding is superb!


Some folks like it without the flat/danish icing, but personally I wouldn't change a thing other than the icing application. The semi-sweet, rich dough you've made is perfectly suited for the the type of icing you've selected,but I think you may be doing an injustice to the loaf itself with the icing. My best suggestion would be to spread or pour a thinner icing for an over-all top glaze, or to pipe the icing [fondant preferably] on in thin lines back and forth diagonally,(or in whatever pattern you think looks best) , then the toasted almonds, for a cleaner looking presentation. This will make it look and taste a little a lighter, and still allows for a sweet counterpoint to the dough itself. Just a suggestion to try for your next bake of this bread


All the best in 2011 and good baking!


Franko

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Your absolutely right, this is not how these loaves should be glazed :)  It is not a good example to show with a heavy glaze.  That is why I thought it was a good idea to put the photos in with the before and after glaze.  The loaves definately need a thin clear glaze applied, to give the Russian Briad the look it so well deserves, because it is very lovely, and so you can see the pattern of the slits, filled with almond paste...that is why the glaze is applied to the hot loaves when they just come out of the oven..it helps it thin.  A heavier glaze was applied because that was what Mike likes and the grandkids...'lol' they could care less about admiring the pattern of the braid..'lol' my family gives me strange looks when I start discussing how a bread is made...except for my granddaughter..she always is so sweet and listens to her grandma's babbling about, such things as wild yeast, organic wholesome grains, fermenting...etc..'lol'.


I wasn't completely pleased with the braiding on the one loaf, although it does look nice I think..taken a little more care placing it into the pan would have given it a more finished end.  Not making excuses but I was pressed for time to bake and finish, to give to my daughter when I met her for lunch and a movie the same afternoon.


I often think about taking more care and thought into my baking...I could do better...but I'm just not that serious of a baker...had these loaves been for a special occassion..then you would have seen a different loaf and glaze.


Happy Baking for 2011!


Sylvia

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Your absolutely right, this is not how these loaves should be glazed :)  It is not a good example to show with a heavy glaze.  That is why I thought it was a good idea to put the photos in with the before and after glaze.  The loaves definately need a thin clear glaze applied, to give the Russian Braid the look it so well deserves, because it is very lovely, and so you can see the pattern of the slits, filled with almond paste...that is why the glaze is applied to the hot loaves when they just come out of the oven..it helps it thin.  A heavier glaze was applied because that was what Mike likes and the grandkids...'lol' they could care less about admiring the pattern of the braid..'lol' my family gives me strange looks when I start discussing how a bread is made...except for my granddaughter..she always is so sweet and listens to her grandma's babbling about, such things as wild yeast, organic wholesome grains, fermenting...etc..'lol'.


I wasn't completely pleased with the braiding on the one loaf, although it does look nice I think..taken a little more care placing it into the pan would have given it a more finished end.  Not making excuses but I was pressed for time to bake and finish, to give to my daughter when I met her for lunch and a movie the same afternoon.


I often think about taking more care and thought into my baking...I could do better...but I'm just not that serious of a baker...had these loaves been for a special occassion..then you would have seen a different loaf and glaze.


Happy Baking for 2011!


Sylvia

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Sylvia,


Well I'd say the glazing is just what the customers wanted and you did what any good baker would do by giving them what they enjoy :-) I'm glad you didn't take my comment as being critical, as I'm always impressed by just how professional your baking looks and consider you to be a pretty serious baker despite your self assessment.


By the way your not alone in getting the "strange looks" from friends and family when talking about our breads. Good thing we have this forum to discuss our baking with like-minded folks.


All the best,


Franko

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Thanks for your very kind response.  This is a great forum to discuss our baking with 'like-minded folks'!  I'am working on Mike 'lol' so far I've converted him to my not sour, sourdough bread a country french, he eats it everyday with a hardy, yumm and says 'THis is my FAvorite bread'!  If I don't make him an occassional sweet pastry..he starts picking up and placing those horrible bakery grocery store pastries into the grocery cart.


The double post..oh dear, I'll blame that on the new PC, I'm still trying to figure out.


Sylvia

cherylmathew's picture
cherylmathew

I can almost taste these loaves. Great job! A good start to 2011.
I'm planning to attempt making these; one query though - how much yeast did you use? Sorry if I can't see it, I read through twice.

Thanks

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Thank you cherylmathew for the nice compliment and catching the yeast amount I forgot to add...the recipe calls for 13gms or 3 teaspoons.  I used the osmotolerant but regular can be used.


Sylvia

Marni's picture
Marni

Happy New Year Sylvia!


I have a serious sweet tooth, usually for chocolate, but I'm with you on the icing - yum.


Ciril Hitz is great, I love his videos, so clear and detailed.  I still can't shape well, but he has really helped me improve.  I've watched him do that braid - Yours is terrific!


Marni

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Happy New Year to you!  I'm a fan of CH too!  His videos are great...what would we do without videos, photos and You-Tube 'lol'. 


Sylvia 

rayel's picture
rayel

I love the before  photos the best Sylvia, only because I think they are more aesthetic. I am not supposed to like sugar, at least I keep telling myself that. Either way they are lovely breads. Ray