Apples and caramel, the ultimate flavor combination of fall, come together in this beautiful braided bread recipe.
This recipe was developed in partnership with Red Star Yeast.
What’s better than pulling out a braided loaf of golden brown, freshly-baked bread? Slicing into it to discover it’s stuffed with apples and caramel, of course.
When Red Star Yeast asked me to develop a recipe for them, the idea for this caramel apple braided loaf came to me immediately and I couldn’t wait to bake it. It must have been meant to be, because it turned out perfectly and tasted even better than I’d hoped.
The caramel does make a little bit of a mess as it bakes, but in my opinion that’s part of its charm. And mopping up some of the oozed caramel with a slice of the bread is a must, believe me.
The bread itself is soft, buttery and scented with cinnamon, and the apples are firm and tart. The caramel is a fun twist, helping to keep the loaf moist and adding a seasonal sweetness.
Serve a loaf of this caramel apple bread for brunch or dessert, or even both! Just make sure you have others around to help you eat it.
baking tip:How to create a mock braided bread
A danish pastry isn’t really braided. Instead, a single piece of dough is cut and folded to look like a braid. It’s a quick and easy shortcut, and here’s how to do it:
1. Score the rolled out dough so that it is divided into thirds lengthwise, careful not to slice all the way through. You will use this as a guide.
2. With a sharp knife slice the outer thirds into 1-inch strips at a slight angle.
3. Remove the 2 segments from the top and the bottom of the dough, leaving behind little “notches”.
3. Spread the filling into the middle.
4. To braid, fold one top strip up and over the filling at an angle. Repeat with the top strip on the other side, slightly overlapping the first. Repeat with remaining strips all the way down.
Caramel Apple Braided Loaf
For the bread:
- ¼ cup water (60 ml)
- ½ cup whole milk (120 ml)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter (56 grams)
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour (420 grams)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 ¼ teaspoon active-dry yeast (1 envelope, 7 grams)
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water , for brushing
- Powdered sugar , for dusting
For the filling:
- ½ cup packed light or dark brown sugar (105 grams)
- ½ cup heavy cream (120 ml)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (28 grams)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 medium apples , peeled and sliced
To make the dough:
- Combine the water, milk, and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When butter is completely melted, remove from heat and cool for about 5 minutes (to 120-130°F).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment (you may also use a large bowl and mix by hand with a wooden spoon), combine 1 ½ cups flour with the sugar, cinnamon, salt, and yeast. Add the liquids and mix until combined. Add the egg.
- Add the remaining flour ¼ cup (30 grams) at a time until dough clears the bowl and is still sticky to the touch without coming off on your hands. Continue kneading dough with either the dough hook or by hand until dough is smooth and elastic, about 7-10 minutes.
- Put dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. Let rise until doubled, about 1-2 hours.
To make filling:
- While the bread is rising, combine the brown sugar, heavy cream, butter, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil and let simmer until thickened, stirring frequently, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
- Let cool to a spreadable consistency. If the caramel becomes too hard, return it to medium low heat to melt it a little before spreading it on the dough.
To prepare the braided loaf:
- Gently punch down dough to release gases and knead by hand a few times. Let sit for a few minutes.
- Roll dough out on a clean surface to about 15 x 10-inch rectangle. Transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Divide dough in thirds lengthwise and cut 1-inch strips crosswise down the length of the outer thirds.
- Spread the cooled caramel in the center third. Top with the sliced apples. Fold the cut strips over the filling at a diagonal, alternating side to side.
- Brush the loaf with the egg wash. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise while oven preheats to 350°F. Bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Some of the caramel may ooze out during baking. Let cool on pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack or serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar.
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post by Red Star Yeast. All opinions remain my own, as always. Thank you for supporting partnerships like this that make it easier to bring you new original content.