Sunday, July 23, 2006

Christmas in Vermont Bread

This soft, tender sweet bread features a hint of maple in the filling and glaze.

3/4 cup lukewarm milk
6 tablespoons butter
3 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor; or 1/4 teaspoon Pralines & Cream or Butter-Rum flavor; or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk (reserve the white)

Filling and topping
1/2 cup maple sugar or brown sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup pecan meal or almond flour, or very finely ground pecans or almonds
1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup maple sugar or brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup glazing sugar or confectioners' sugar

Melt the butter in the milk, and let cool to lukewarm. Combine all of the dough ingredients, and mix and knead them—by hand, mixer, or bread machine—until you have a very soft, shiny, slightly sticky dough. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and allow it to rise for 1 1/2 hours. To make the filling: Stir together all of the filling ingredients until they form coarse crumbs. Set them aside.

Grease a large tube pan or a wreath pan. Scoop about half of the dough into the greased pan. Sprinkle about two-thirds of the filling atop the dough. Top with the remaining dough.

Beat the reserved egg white till foamy. Brush over the dough, and sprinkle with the remaining filling/topping. Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 1/2 hours, or till puffy.

Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until it's golden brown. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack to cool while you make the glaze. Mix the glaze ingredients together and heat them, in a saucepan or in the microwave, till the sugar dissolves. Place the loaf on a serving plate and brush with the warm glaze. Cool completely before slicing with a serrated knife.

© 1998-2006 The King Arthur Flour Company, Inc.

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