Adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe, this beautiful braid would make a delicious Christmas morning breakfast. If you like, prepare it ahead of time and place the unbaked braid in the refrigerator overnight to rise slowly. Bake in the morning.

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Cherry-Orange Braided Bread [Vegan]

Ingredients

Starter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cool water
  • 1/8 tsp. instant yeast
Dough
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup maple sugar
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds mixed with 3 tbsp. water (let sit for a few minutes)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • zest of 1 orange
Filling
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 4 oz. unsweetened applesauce
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Preparation

Make the bread
  1. Combine the starter ingredients in a small bowl, cover, and let sit at room temperature overnight.
  2. The next day, mix the starter ingredients with the dough ingredients (I used a stand mixer) and mix for about 6 minutes.  Dough should be slightly stick and elastic.  Add more flour if the dough seems too sticky.
  3. Place the dough in a large bowl that’s been coated with oil.  Cover and let rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. Mix the filling ingredients together in a small bowl.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Punch down the dough and divide into three equal pieces.  Working with one piece at a time, flatten one of the pieces into a rectangle that is about 6” x 12”.  Spread 1/3 of the filling onto the rectangle and starting with a long edge, roll the rectangle into a log.  Roll, fill, and roll the 2 remaining dough pieces in the same way.  Place the 3 rolls on the prepared baking sheet and braid them, tucking under the ends.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour.  (Or, if you would like to bake this in the morning to have for breakfast, cover the braid and place in the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning, bake as directed.)  Preheat the oven to 350F.
  7. When the braid is nice and puffy, remove the plastic wrap and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped.  Let cool for 15-20 minutes before slicing.
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