Apple Brioche Braid
Authors: Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François
Since berries are now behind on us and we look forward to cold days and even colder nights, we created an apple version of our popular Raspberry Brioche Braid, a pastry that mimics a Danish braid without quite as much work.
I made the dough with Platinum Yeast from Red Star. Making the dough with Platinum yeast, which has dough strengtheners, gives extra insurance the fritters will be light even when you pack the dough densely with chopped fruit.
When you have a bucket of brioche in the refrigerator this brioche braid can be put together in a no time. I’ve used the brioche dough from, and the Amish Milk Dough from , but you could also use Challah dough or one of the enriched doughs from our book or even )
You can watch how to make the apple brioche braid in our instagram video highlights.
- Makes about 4½ pounds of dough:
- 1½ cups lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon (~1½ packets) Platinum Yeast from Red Star
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 6 large eggs
- ½ cup (170g) honey
- 1½ cups (340g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 7 cups (990g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups grated Gala apple
- ¼ cup apple cider
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Pinch salt
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water) for topping braid
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
- Pinch salt
- To make the dough: Mix Platinum Yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter with water in a 6-Quart Round Food-Storage Container with Lid (not airtight) container.
- Mix in flour without kneading, using a spoon, a Danish Dough Whisk or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle). The dough will be loose but will firm up when chilled.
- Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises for approximately 2 hours. Then refrigerate for at least four hours before first use, it is easier to handle when thoroughly chilled. This dough can be stored for up to 5 days in the fridge. Beyond that, the dough stores well in the freezer for up to four weeks in an airtight container, in one-pound portions. When using frozen dough, thaw and use as instructed.
- To make the jam: Place the grated apple, apple cider, sugar and salt into a pan and stir together. Simmer over a medium/low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring often, until most the juice has cooked into the apples. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. (The mixture will still look very ‘grated’, but the apples will continue cooking as the bread bakes.)
- To make the cream cheese filling: Mix the cream cheese, zest and sugar in a bowl until smooth.
- To make the braid:Take a one pound piece of dough from the dough bucket (weighing on a scale is the easiest way, but if you don’t have one, a grapefruit-sized piece will do) and roll the dough into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle. Make sure to use enough flour that the dough doesn’t stick to the surface or the rolling pin. TRANSFER THE ROLLED OUT DOUGH TO A SHEET OF PARCHMENT. Spread the cream cheese filling down the center of the dough, about 1 inch wide.
- Top the cream cheese with about ½ cup of the apple filling. You can add more, but some may leak out of the braid as it is baking. There may be a little jam left over to serve with the baked braid.
- Cut ½-inch thick strips of dough with a pastry or pizza cutter. (Try to get an even amount on both sides, but it’s okay if it doesn’t happen.)
- Lightly twist the top two strips of dough, then cross them over the top of the filling. Do not pull the dough too thin or it may break as it rises and bakes. Continue that same routine of twisting the pieces and crossing them over each other on top of the filling, until you are at the bottom. If you find an odd piece of the dough, that doesn’t have a mate, just twist it and place it over the filling. When you get to the end, tuck the loose pieces under the loaf, so they are secure and won’t pop out when baking.
- Place the braid and parchment onto a baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic and allow to rest for about 1½ hours.
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Just before baking, brush the loaf gently with the egg wash.
- Bake the loaf for about 30 minutes or until golden brown (I like to bake this braid on two layers of baking sheets, to keep the bottom from browning too quickly). Allow to cool before topping with the icing.
- To make the icing: place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Combine the melted butter, water, brandy, and salt together, and pour it over the powdered sugar, whisking until smooth. It should come off a spoon in a thin drizzle.
Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François met in their children’s music class in 2003 and have written bread cookbooks with more than 715,000 copies in print. Jeff, a doctor by training, is a self-taught baker who grew up eating great bread and pizza in New York City, and longed to recreate it himself. Zoë is a pastry chef and baker trained at the Culinary Institute of America. Her work appears in blogs all over the United States, and her dessert menus grace fine restaurants in the authors’ hometown, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jeff and Zoë were among the very first cookbook authors to support their readers with personal responses on their website, BreadIn5.com, beginning in 2007, where they blog about their super-fast yeast breads.