Totally random fact about me: I don’t eat apples as is. Like grabbing one from a fruit bowl and biting into it out of hand? Nope, never. Honestly, I probably don’t eat raw apples as much as I should, but when I do, I always, always cut them into slices and dip them in something. If I’m trying to be healthy that something is peanut butter, but if I’m calling the apple dessert, it’s probably either cookie butter or caramel.
Another random tidbit: I don’t have a favorite go-to apple. Every fall I hear people talking about the apple they’re crazy for (and more often than not, it’s the honeycrisp), but I really don’t have a strong preference. I guess my favorites are the apples that are good for baking because, let’s face it, if I’m buying apples 9 times out of 10 it’s to bake with them 🙂 Do you have a favorite apple variety?
Last weekend, I went on an apple-baking spree, and this Sweet Glazed Apple-Cinnamon Yeast Bread was one of the best things to emerge from my kitchen. I’m in love with the unique shape and look of it; it just makes it seem a little more special than your average apple dessert. And while it might look like a complicated bread to make, I promise it’s not. The process is very similar to making cinnamon rolls, you just shape the dough differently. I included step-by-step photos below so you can see exactly how I did it!
This bread is a wonderful lazy weekend project because it does take a while from start to finish. No worries though, the biggest chunk of the time is hands-off, waiting for the dough to rest/rise. The reward at the end is more than worth it! The bread itself is sweet and tender, with a delicious apple-cinnamon filling that’s not only swirled within the bread, but tops it as well. It’s finished with a drizzle of vanilla glaze as I believe all sweet yeast treats should be! A warm slice of this apple-cinnamon bread is the perfect indulgent breakfast or afternoon snack. You won’t be able to keep your hands off of it, it’s so addictive. Don’t say I didn’t warn you 🙂
Sweet Glazed Apple-Cinnamon Yeast Bread
barely adapted from King Arthur Flour
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dried potato flakes
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup peeled, grated apple (I used Cortland)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons heavy cream
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, potato flakes, sugar, yeast, and salt. Mix on low speed to combine. Add the butter, vanilla, egg, and milk, and mix until a rough dough comes together. Loosely cover the bowl with a clean towel and set aside for 30 minutes (this gives the flour time to absorb the liquid).
Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook. Knead the dough on low speed for 5-6 minutes, or until it is soft and elastic – it may be slightly sticky, that’s ok. (If the dough is too dry, add water one tablespoon at a time, if it too sticky, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until desired consistency is reached.) Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 1 1/2 hours, or until nearly doubled in size. (You can tell if the dough has doubled by pressing it with your finger – if it springs back, it’s not ready, if the indentation remains, you’re ready to move on).
When the dough has nearly finished rising, make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, and cinnamon. In a second bowl, toss the grated apple and lemon juice then add to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir until evenly coated. (The filling will be slightly runny/watery – it’ll thicken as the bread bakes.)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide into two equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough into a 10×12-inch rectangle, lifting and turning the dough and adding flour as necessary so it doesn’t stick. Spread half of the filling evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. With a long edge facing you, roll the dough into a log – pinch the edges of the dough to seal when it’s fully rolled. Cut the log in half lengthwise, then turn the two halves so the filling is facing up. Transfer the halves to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Twist the two halves together (the filling should still be facing up) and pinch the ends together to secure.
Repeat the process with the second piece of dough, placing on a second baking sheet. Loosely cover the loaves with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 1 1/2 hours, or until puffy.
Toward the end of the rise time, preheat oven to 350 F. Bake the loaves for about 30-35 minutes (rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back), or until golden brown. You can tent the loaves with foil if they’re browning too quickly but I didn’t need to. Transfer the pans to wire racks and allow the loaves to cool for at least 1 hour before glazing.
Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of the cream together. If you prefer a thinner consistency for your glaze, add some or all of the remaining tablespoon of cream. Drizzle over the cooled loaves. (I really liked slices of this bread best if I reheated them in the microwave for 15 seconds or so before digging in!)