Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hooray for the bread machine, part 3: Almond Braid

Well, we are on a bread kick, apparently. An old friend of mine from my graduate school days is in town and she came this morning for coffee. She offered to bring doughnuts, but if they don't have soy flour in them (like Dunkin Donuts) they are fried in soy oil. So that's out. I made one of my husband's favorite coffee cakes. It's reminiscent of an almond danish:

Almond Braid

3/4 cup milk (skim is fine)
1 egg
2 Tbs butter
1/2 8-oz can almond paste (or 1/2 7-oz tube)*
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1.) Put all the ingredients in the bread machine in the order called for in the machine's manual. Process on "dough" mode.
2.) On a floured board, pat the dough into a rectangle and cut in thirds. Roll each third into a long rope, about 18 inches. On a cookie sheet lined with parchement or buttered foil, braid the three ropes together, pinch the ends, and tuck under.
3.) Bake at 375F for 25 minutes. When cool, glaze (see below).

Almond Glaze
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1-2 Tbs milk
sliced almonds

Measure the confectioner's sugar in a one-cup measure and leave it in the cup. Add the extract and let it melt a hole into the sugar. A little at a time, add the milk, stirring until the glaze is thin enough to spread but not runny. Spread it over the braid, and sprinkle with the sliced almonds.

* Save the other half in the freezer. You'll want to make this bread again.

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