Did you ever bake something, taste it, and say, “Wow, this tastes just like [your favorite store-bought treat].”
C’mon, admit it; there are certain childhood foods that still have a hold on you, right? Maybe you crave the occasional Twinkie. Or Dubble Bubble. Perhaps your heart skips a beat when you witness an amber sheet of Mrs. Butterworth’s inching its way over a stack of pancakes.
Whatever your secret “vice,” you probably consider these childhood favorites beneath you. These days, you’re a person of the world, totally versed in the merits of white vs. black truffle oil, someone eager to display a familiarity with pane pugliese. Not for you the odious label “store-bought.”
But still… my inner child sighed in delight upon tasting this month’s Bakealong recipe, Cinnamon-Apple Twist Bread. Soft, tender bread, filled with cinnamon-y apples and topped with sweet vanilla glaze — it’s a homemade clone of supermarket favorite Entenmann’s Danish twist!
If you’re not ashamed to admit you retain a certain hidden fondness for Entenmann’s and its ilk — please make this bread. (Even if you profess no love at all, ever, for baked goods made outside your own kitchen, trust me: you need to make this bread.) After all, with the dog days of August behind us and September's cooler weather drawing you into the kitchen, what better way to welcome fall than a tasty loaf of apple bread — and a trip down memory lane?
Mix and knead the dough
Gather your dough ingredients:
3 1/4 cups (390g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup (43g) potato flour OR 1/2 cup (43g) dried potato flakes*
3 tablespoons (35g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons (43g) soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (255g) room-temperature or lukewarm milk
*Why the potato? It lends the bread wonderfully soft, moist texture, and helps keep it fresh longer. If you don't have either potato flour or flakes, substitute 3/4 cup unseasoned mashed potato (about 6 ounces), adding it to the dry ingredients along with the milk. Reduce the milk to 2/3 cup, adding additional flour or milk as needed to create a smooth, soft dough.
Whisk together all of the dry ingredients, then add the butter, vanilla, egg, and milk, mixing until a shaggy dough forms. If your schedule permits, let the dough rest for 30 minutes; this resting period allows the flour to absorb the liquid fully, making it easier to knead.
Knead the dough — by hand, using a mixer, or in a bread machine set on the dough cycle — until it's smooth and soft, though still slightly sticky.
Let the dough rise
Place the dough in a greased bowl (or in a large measuring cup as I've done here, the better to track its rise). Cover the container, and let the dough rise until it's almost doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
The amount of time this takes will depend on the temperature of your kitchen; yeast works the fastest at about 85°F, but we prefer the flavor the bread gets from a longer, cooler (about 70°F) rise.
If you're using a bread machine set on the dough cycle, simply allow it to complete its cycle.
While the dough is rising, make the filling.
Stir together the filling
Peel, core, and grate 1 large apple (or a couple of medium apples). You need 1 cup (6 ounces) grated apple, more or less. Try to come close to 1 cup (and better to go over than under), but no need to be exact.
Gather the remainder of your filling ingredients:
1 tablespoon (14g) lemon juice
1/2 cup (99g) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons (21g) cornstarch or 2 tablespoons (21g) Instant ClearJel
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup (113g) chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
To make the filling using cornstarch: Toss the grated apple with the lemon juice in a saucepan. Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon, and add to the pan, stirring to combine. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the apple starts to release its juice.
Increase the heat to medium, and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring, until the mixture thickens, 1 to 2 minutes; drawing a spatula across the bottom of the pan should leave a track that doesn't readily fill in. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool to room temperature; if you want to hasten the process, place in the refrigerator.
To make the filling using Instant ClearJel: ClearJel sets instantly, without cooking; it's an easy option for this filling. Whisk together the sugar, ClearJel, salt, and cinnamon. Toss the grated apple with the lemon juice, then add that to the sugar mixture. Mix well, and set aside.
Gently deflate the risen dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured or greased work surface. Divide the dough in half.
Assemble the twists
Roll the first half into a 10" x 12" rectangle. Spread half the filling over the rolled-out dough, leaving a 1/2" margin clear of filling along all sides. If adding chopped nuts, sprinkle them evenly over the filling.
Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a log, sealing the edge.
Use a bench knife, pizza wheel, or sharp knife to cut the log in half lengthwise. If you're cutting on a silicone mat, as I am here, be exceedingly careful to cut through the dough without scoring the mat.
Place the half-logs, filled side up, side by side on a well-greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Keeping the filling side up, twist or "braid" the two logs together. You can either work from one end to the other...
... or from the center to each end. Pinch the ends together.
Repeat with the second half of the dough.
Note: Want to prepare the twists ahead, then bake them the next day? Make the twists up to the point where they're shaped, and put them on a pan. Cover them with lightly greased plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight (about 12 hours).
Next morning, remove the twists from the fridge, and let them come to room temperature and rise a bit (still covered); this will take 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. Bake and finish as directed below.
Let them rise
Cover the twists lightly, and set them aside to rise for 1 to 2 hours; they should be puffy but not doubled in bulk (bottom photo).
Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center.
Bake the twists and let them cool
Bake the twists in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until they're lightly browned. Check them after 20 minutes and tent with aluminum foil if they're browning too quickly. When the loaves are fully baked, a digital thermometer inserted into a loaf (be sure to position the thermometer in the bread, not the filling) should register about 190°F. Remove the twists from the oven and allow them to cool for about 1 hour before glazing and serving.
Drizzle with glaze
To make the glaze, whisk together the following:
1 cup (113g) confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 tablespoons (14g to 28g) water or 2 to 4 tablespoons (28g to 57g) heavy cream, enough to make a "drizzle-able" glaze.
Drizzle glaze over the twists once they're cool; slice, serve, and enjoy. Here's what they look like newly glazed.
Want to bake them ahead, and serve the next day? For best results, store them overnight without the glaze, and drizzle with glaze just before serving.
Here's what the twists look like 24 hours after being glazed. The icing has settled a bit; not a deal-breaker in my book, but if you like that really sharp-drizzle look, glaze the twists no more than several hours before serving.
Another reason to leave twists unglazed if you're holding them for awhile: they're kind of a pain in the neck to store with the glaze. Moisture from the wrapped loaves softens the glaze, and it sticks to the plastic wrap. If you really need to glaze the loaves one day and serve them the next, store them overnight under a large cake cover or other stiff cover, e.g., the cover from a deli takeout platter. You want to keep anything from touching the glaze.
Now, if you know ahead of time you're going to freeze one or both of the twists, don't glaze them; wrap completely cooled, unglazed bread tightly in plastic, and freeze for up to a month. When you're ready to serve, remove the bread from the freezer, unwrap, cover loosely with plastic, and let thaw at room temperature before glazing.
Serve and enjoy!
See what I mean about the Entenmann's clone? But so much better, coming from your own oven. You'll definitely want to share this bread with a friend (or your favorite car mechanics, like I do). Since the recipe makes two good-sized loaves, it's perfect for baking and sharing.
We've got you covered! See our recipe for Gluten-Free Cinnamon-Apple Breakfast Pastry, a tasty, flavor-matching riff on this twist bread. The preparation method is similar to that of our Almond Puff Loaf, so give its blog a look-see for some helpful hints.
Do you bake at altitude? Check out our high-altitude baking tips.
Interested in more? See our complete collection of Bakealong recipes.