I thought long and hard before accepting a new baking challenge from Joy the Baker & King Arthur Flour. For starters, this is a yeasted bread dough. Second, there was no need for my
security blanket kitchen aid mixer. Third, there was hand kneading, rolling, and braiding involved. I rolled up my sleeves, put on my favorite apron (which is not very accommodating to the growing baby bump…was this a sign to stop progress?) and got to work.
The first part of this bakers challenge was proofing yeast and mixing up the dough. Joy’s post on this recipe was so well written and descriptive (not to mention the gorgeous step by step photographs) that as I carefully followed the various steps along, I was left feeling like I had a good handle on things. I whisked together yeast, sugar and added the lukewarm milk – not even questioning if I overheated, or underheated the milk.
Success. I whisked together King Arthur all purpose flour and salt. The yeast mixture gets added in and I mixed all of the ingredients together…with a wooden spoon. Thoughts running through my head as I was mixing: I am a bit nervous about gluten,what if the dough is tough, am I mixing this the right way, what is the right way?
Ready or not…it was time to knead. I realized halfway through that Joy provided a super helpful link from the folks at King Arthur on how to knead dough. I should have watched that before I was up to my wrists in flour….I kneaded on.
The dough was placed in a lightly greased bowl to rise until doubled in size. I tackled the cinnamon sugar mixture and prepped the berries while I waited.
I rolled out the dough into a large, imperfect rectangle and spread the buttery cinnamon sugar mixture on the dough. I began to carefully place the berries all over the dough. My shoulders were a bit tense. Would there be too many berries? I did not really measure out cup for cup the berry mixture. I trusted my instincts, instead.I started to roll the dough while being mindful of the delicate berries…
And then cutting the log of rolled dough to braid…yes, I was a bit nervous. What if the mixture didn’t hold together?
And braiding? Ummm…that was a tricky maneuver. Fast hands were required to reshape straighten each tail as I braided.
Once the braid is complete, I brought each end of the dough braid together and pressed them together. Then came the most difficult part so far, in my opinion. Getting the round dough studded with berries and cinnamon from the floured counter and into a cast iron pan in one fell swoop. I took a deep breath and went for it.
I was feeling pretty good at this point. I had executed this recipe to the best of my ability and now it was time to wait. The next 20 minutes were torture, however, the smell of a fruity cinnamon swirl bread baking is a delicious distraction to have.
The bread held its shape while baking…hooray! The dough was so tender, the cinnamon mixture was the perfect partner for the raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. The top is dusted with sifted powder sugar versus a sticky glaze. This bread is approachable, friends! I guarantee making this bread will leave you feeling like a baking superstar!
To find the recipe head on over to Joy the Baker’s post. You can join in on this bootcamp challenge fun, too! I have been using King Arthur Flour for years mainly because the company was ‘local’ to where I used to live and hey, support your local businesses! Since moving I make sure to track down King Arthur flour in my local grocery! When I am back in town, I always make a stop to the store!! Check them out!