The 'We Knead to Bake Project' - Orange Cinnamon & Apricot swirl bread (# 27)

I can't seem to ever be sure why baking always seems to involve a certain level of complexity. Maybe its my inherent South Indian background where baking is almost unheard of, -- for starters, the first time I ever set eyes on an 'oven' was when I was 7 years old, and even then, it was one of those gadgets whose main purpose was to store pots and pans. Daily cooking was always on the stove top and the level of heat applied was always measure in terms of high, medium or 'simmer'. Three settings and the particular burner (the 'Big' or 'small' ) used was all that determined the technique for countless delicious meal sessions that Amma dished out day in & day out. Temperature control was unheard of!

The oven was one of those awe inspiring inanimate 'boogey' man like apparitions to my 7 year old mind, Perhaps I had read one too many fairy tales like Hansel & Gretel, where the 'witch' pops little kids into the oven or vice versa.But even when growing up all that I had access to was a tiny Proctor Silex toaster oven that I had too much expectation from. My head imagined whipping up cakes and cookies, in reality, it never worked well beyond making a good open faced cheese toast with cauliflower cous cous.

Fast forward a couple  of decades, My train of thought fully believes that one needs not one but two ovens for a good day in the kitchen and traditional South Indian flavors blossom as well in the oven as on the stove top. And breads like this months selection surprise you with their simplicity.
Aparna from My Diverse Kitchen picked this bread from a new book by Carol Beckerman - '500 breads' and she's giving away one lucky reader a copy of the book, courtesy Seller Publishing. just follow the link above and follow the instructions to opt in for the giveaway.

My kids completely fell in love with this bread (and did their bit in helping to make it by sprinkling the cinnamon sugar over the dough and the counter & floor of course.), esp my 9 year old who said it reminded him of the iconic cinnamon buns from Ikea, but 10 times better! You simply can't go wrong with that kind of validation now can you?

I left out the eggs that are used in the original recipe and purely on a whim tossed in 2 tablespoons of Kerrygold salted butter just because it happened to be right next to the Kitchen Aid. It gave the an extra silky soft character to the bread.

Orange , Cinnamon & Apricot swirl Bread (from 500 breads by Carol Beckerman)

You need:

  • 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon  sugar (for blooming the yeast)
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • The juice and finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 5 tbsp apricot preserves
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Oil for greasing
  • 2 eggs (optional)

Line  2 8”x 4” loaf tins with parchment paper. Brush a little oil on the pans to help the parchment paper adhere better. 

Dissolve 1 teaspoon of the sugar in the warm water, sprinkle the yeast on top and whisk to dissolve. Leave it for 10 to 15 minutes till frothy. In the meantime, combine the cinnamon and brown sugar to make a mix.

In the bowl of the food processor fitted with a dough hook, mix together the flour, salt and the remaining sugar. Add the liquid yeast,  butter, the eggs (if using), the juice and the zest of orange and work into a somewhat firm dough. knead for about 10 more minutes until you get a smooth and elastic dough. Transfer into a well oiled bowl, cover and allow to rest in a warm place for about 60 - 90 minutes until the dough doubles in volume.

Transfer to a working surface, punch down and knead for a few minutes until the dough feels firm. Divide into two equal halves and roll each ball of dough into a 6 x 13 rectangle.

Spread each rectangle with apricot preserves and sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. I used a chunk apricot fruit preserve rather than a conventional jam, so the end result was not a smooth spiral in the cross section, it seemed to add a certain rustic quality to the bread.

Roll up each triangle like a jelly roll and place in the loaf tins. Put in a warm place for about 30 minutes, until double in size. In the meantime, pre-heat the oven to 200C (400F).  

Bake the loaves for about 30 to 35 minutes until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaves make a hollow sound when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

The chunky preserves create these little gaps in the spiral and the bread does not have a tight spiral, but once the loaves cool the bread slices neatly, so don't worry about the bread 'unraveling'

This recipe makes 2 medium sized loaves. Serve warm with a cup of coffee.

Bon appetit!

This bread is being 'Yeast spotted'.


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