Monday, December 22, 2008

Bread Baking Babes - Yule Wreath

As you can see from the above gorgeous logo (wonderfully made, as are all our logos by Lien) that it's Babe time again. This month we are celebrating the holidays with a Yule Wreath.

Normally this is the sort of recipe that I would take a miss on making. We don't eat a lot of sweets, nor do most of the people in my "tasting group" either. But the First Rule of the Bread Baking Babes is - There Are No Rules. Gee, I hope the Second Rule isn't Don't Tell Anyone The First Rule. Anyhoo, that means that we could take this traditionally sweet treat and make it savory. Cool.

Let's take a look at the recipe from this months host, Lynn:

Yule Wreath

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 deg. F)
3/4 cup lukewarm milk*
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
3-1/4 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Almond Filling (below)**
Glaze (also below)

1-Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in milk, sugar, margarine, egg, cardamom, salt and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.

2-Turn dough onto lightly floured surface: knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in warm place until double, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

3-Prepare Almond Filling-

Mix together until smooth:
1/2 cup almond paste
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup softened butter

4- Punch down the dough. Roll into rectangle, 15 x 9-inches, on a lightly floured surface. Spread with the filling to within 1/4-inch of the edges. Roll up tightly, beginning at the wide side. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal well. Stretch roll to make even. With sealed edge down, shape into ring on lightly greased cookie sheet. Pinch ends together.

5- With scissors or kitchen shears, make cuts 2/3 of the way through the ring at 1-inch intervals. Turn each section on it's side (90 degree turn), to show off the pretty swirled filling. Cover loosely with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray. Let rise until double, about 40 to 50 minutes.

6- Heat oven to 350 deg. F. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. (If it browns too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil.)

7 - Make Glaze-
Mix until smooth:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla
(add additional water 1/2 tsp at a time, if necessary)

8- Spread Glaze over the wreath. You can decorate your wreath with nuts, dried fruit, marzipan fruit, or whatever strikes your fancy.

* The original recipe says to scald and then cool the milk. It's my understanding that with modern, pasteurized milk, this is no longer necessary.

** If almond paste is not available, or if you fall down in the aisle at the grocery store when you see the price, you can make your own. In a food processor finely grind 8 oz blanched almonds. Process in 8 oz powdered sugar. Then knead in 1 egg white. Store in the refrigerator.

Doesn't that sound great?

Here's the changes I made to make mine savory. I reduced the sugar to 2 tb, and I used dried basil instead of cardamom. Obviously I did not use the almond filling or the glaze either. Instead we filled ours with sauteed mushrooms, onions, ham and cheese.

The dough was really nice and soft. Easy to work with and roll out. Once I had it in a sort-of-rectangle shape, I sprinkled the dough (leaving a border around the edges) with the cooked and cooled mushrooms and onions, then the ham, and then the cheese.

We could have baked it just like that and had one helluva pizza.

Then the dough was rolled tightly, formed into a ring, and sealed.

Next came the only difficult part of the recipe. Using kitchen shears or a sharp sharp knife, we had to cut the wreath 2/3's of the way through at 1 inch intervals. Once you have all your cuts made, you have to twist each piece so you can see the filling. And lo, there was much arguing in the iliketocook kitchen that morning. We both thought the other was doing it wrong, but couldn't do any better than the other either.

The wreath has one more rise, and then gets baked until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and admire.

Thank you to Lynn for choosing a fun and changeable recipe for us this month. We loved it! Check out all the Babes wreaths; they're all listed over in the sidebar.


Karen Baking Soda said...

Such a versatile and loveable dought, it would make a yummy pizza but like this, all shaped up it's so much more pretty!

natalia said...

you made a wonderful thing ! I could make it for Christmas lunch !!

tavolini said...

That looks super tasty...and extremely difficult!

...I'm intrigued :)

The Cookbook Junkie said...

Your version sounds so much better to me than the sweet version. I'm so hungry for that right now.

Ilva said...

I have to say that the more savoury fillings I see, the more I wish I had made one-yours look lovely!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Sara, Sara it is beautiful!!
Savory sweet beautiful to eat and so easy.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Beautiful, Sara, and a mouthwatering choice of fillings. I'm going to have to make this again savory style.

Sara said...

Thank you guys for your comments! I appreciate them all very much!

TavoLini - it is not difficult at all! You should try it.

Lien said...

Fantastic stuffing! There's no end to ideas for fillings. Your wreath sure does look beautiful!

Monique said...

Pizza ? Yeah, also a great idea. This dough can do anything.
Love your filling !

Anonymous said...

Love your savory version! It looks great and now I am craving for Pizza :)

gaga said...

That looks wonderful, I'm definitely trying this one in the future!

NKP said...

Everytime I read someone else's fillings I want to try it all over again.
I love yours - it would be awesome for brunch.
Happy New Years to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

That wreath looks gorgeous and delicious, a real holiday treat :).