We still had a bunch of apples left over from a family friend- even after using a couple for those apple pie cookies. And so I scoured my typical sources for a recipe to use up a good amount of them. One recipe that came up was for Cinnamon Apple Twist Bread from King Arthur Baking, a really pretty loaf with apples studded all over and drizzled with a classic glaze. It seemed simple enough- with KAB bread recipes tending to be pretty fool-proof. So I got everything I needed and started it off.
KAB starts by making the dough, but I decided to go with the filling first because it needs to cook and cool down. If there’s one rule for bread, it’s that timing is everything. Once the bread is proofed, you don’t want to be fussing around trying to rapidly cool down a filling- so just get that out of the way first. Apples are tossed together with cinnamon, sugar, salt, spices, lemon juice and cornstarch, and cooked in a pan until they release their juices. KAB says to grate, but really you can just do a fine dice with a knife, so you don’t have to clean a pesky grater later on. Continue to cook until the sauce gets thick and the apples are softened, then set aside to cool completely. Next comes the dough which is a pretty standard KAB recipe. I’m gonna skip that for now- because I’ve written about dough making a dozen times over on this blog already. The key thing to note here is to not rush the process and wait until risen before moving on.
Divide the risen dough in half, then roll one out into a large rectangle. Then, spread half the filling over the dough, leaving a half inch border. Roll it up from the long side into a log and pinch the edges. Then, take a sharp knife and cut the dough lengthwise into two strips. Place the strips cut side up on a parchment lined baking sheet and twist together to form a braid. My first one was pretty sloppy, but still turned out looking great- so don’t stress too much. Repeat with the second dough and filling, and place it beside the first loaf. Cover with a damp towel and let it proof for about 90 minutes. Then you can bake it for about 30-40 minutes or until deeply golden brown. I’d also recommend brushing it with melted butter when it comes out of the oven to make it shine and to keep the loaves nice and soft. The next part is optional, but I think a simple glaze is a great way to finish it off and pretty up any less than stellar twists. Combine powdered sugar with just enough water to get a thick consistency, then drizzle that over the cooled loaves and let set until hardened.
This bread was incredible. The actual bread itself was super soft- even after sitting for a couple hours after being baked. The filling was nice and tasty- adding a good amount of flavor that’s packed with apples and spices. The glaze adds a nice touch as well- knocking it over into the sweet bread category a little more, and really finishing it off with that bakery touch. My family really enjoyed it too- telling me that I needed to jot the recipe down for future apple needs. My only real gripe about the recipe was the filling. It thickened up with the cornstarch to pretty much a thick-syrup consistency. I ended up naively spreading it onto the dough which became a total mess once I cut it up and started to twist it. The filling kept oozing out- which left me blotting it with paper towels to try and dry it out. Even so, my finished loaf still turned out great. I’d recommend putting the filling in a strainer to get rid of some of that liquid- which worked like a dream when I shaped my second loaf. That one didn’t run into any issues, and definitely got a more defined twist. Mishaps aside, this is totally something I’d make again because you just can’t beat how good it looks and how tasty it is.
Full Recipe | Method from King Arthur Baking