The more I work with yeast the more I find I enjoy it and am determined to make bread baking an integral part of my repertoire. So my breaducation continues with an interesting challenge: a summer fruit bread. All this started with the Breaking Bread Society a few months ago which has since been relaunched and renamed “Twelve Loaves”. I like that. The concept is the brainchild of Lora of Cake Duchess fame, who I totally blame for all the wonderful bread smells emanating from my kitchen and a new found obsession!
At first I gasped when I saw the beautiful braided, stuffed loaf on Lora’s blog. Then I did what I alway do: I analyzed it. Whew, not so scary if you break it down into it’s individual steps. A challenge no doubt but that’s what I am participating for, the challenge.
I could have chosen something completely different as long as it stuck to the theme, but the look filled me (pun intended) with such excitement I decided I needed to make that loaf. I found a dough recipe on King Arthur Flour’s website that is pretty much the same concept. I had just bought some beautiful nectarines at the market so I decided to use them as my filling. I also happen to love the tang of goat cheese and thought it would provide a nice balance for the sweet fruit. You can adjust the amount of sugar you add to both depending on how sweet the fruit is and how much of that tang you want coming thru from the cheese.
The only thing I will do differently in the future is after rolling the dough, transfer it to a piece of parchment paper sitting on my counter and not on the sheet pan. What a pain in the butt it was to cut the strips; the sides of the pan kept getting in the way.
Intrigued by this Twelve Loaves thing? Here’s the deal: It is designed to inspire, to challenge, to help teach and most of all to share the joy of baking bread from scratch. On the first of the month a new recipe will be posted by Lora on her blog. Make it as-is, tweak it or choose your own recipe as long as it fits the theme.
Want to join in? Great, here’s what you need to know:
1. When you post your Twelve Loaves theme inspired bread to your blog, mention Twelve Loaves in your post and link back to the original post. This is required.
2. Add your link to the linky thing at the bottom of Lora’s blog.
3. You must post your theme inspired bread to your blog by the end of the month.
If you’re on Twitter, follow and tweet your post to @TwelveLoaves
Braided Goat Cheese and Nectarine Stuffed Bread
Dough recipe slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour:
170g warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon rapid rise yeast
57g KAF Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
all of the sponge
170g plain Greek yogurt
113g unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
602g KAF Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
egg wash for brushing braid
pearl sugar or sparkling white sugar for sprinkling on braid (optional)
4oz goat cheese, softened
1 – 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 tablespoons heavy cream
3 lbs nectarines, pealed
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 egg beaten with 2 teaspoons water
1. In a medium bowl, combine the water, sugar, yeast and flour. Stir well to combine, loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside to proof for 10 to 15 minutes.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the proofed sponge, yogurt, butter, eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Turn the machine to “2” and slowly add the flour until all of it has been added and just barely combined. Switch to the dough hook, turn the machine to “2” and kneed until a soft dough forms, about 5-6 minutes. If the dough is still a bit to sticky you can add more flour a tablespoon at a time.
3. Lightly oil a large bowl and place the kneaded dough in it, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for in a warm place for 60 to 90 minutes, until quite puffy and nearly doubled.
While the dough is rising, prepare the fillings.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the goat cheese, 1 tablespoons sugar and heavy cream. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy. Give it a taste. If you like it a little sweeter, add additional sugar in 1/2 tablespoons until it suits you. If the mixture is too stiff, add a little more heavy cream. The goal is a smooth, spreadable mixture. It should not be thin.
5. Peal and cut the peaches into wedges the cut each wedge into three pieces. Toss with the sugar and lemon juice. Allow to stand for about 20 minutes before using.
6. Lightly flour your work surface. Gently punch down the dough and divide it in half. Cover half with plastic wrap and set it aside; place the other half onto the floured surface and roll into a 10” x 15” rectangle.
7. Carefully transfer the dough onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Lightly score down the dough lengthwise, to divide it into 3 equal sections. Leaving one inch free at the top and bottom, spread half the goat cheese filling down the center section and top with half of the peaches (no juice).
8. To form the “braid” carefully cut one inch strips from the center to the outer edge of the dough at a slight angle on both sides of the filling Make sure you have the same number of strips (I used a ruler). Beginning on one side, lift the top dough strip gently bring it across the filling diagonally and giving is a gentle press on the other side. Now lift the opposite strip and bring it over the filling so the two strips criss-cross a bit. Repeat until all strips have been folded over.
9. Repeat the rolling, filling, and braiding steps for the second piece of dough. Set both loaves aside, lightly covered with plastic wrap to rise, about 45 to 50 minutes, or until quite puffy.
10. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the loaves with the egg wash and sprinkle with sparkling sugar, if desired. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.