The Orange and Cinnamon Braided Sweet Bread will become one of your favorite treat for the holiday season! The orange jam adds a special sweet and sour fragrance. The cinnamon and the shredded almonds complete the dessert with seasonal sparks.
Like any other bread, also this sweet version needs a perfect rising.
The dough is made out of simple ingredients: water, flour, yeast, butter, milk, and eggs.
Let it rise to perfection, and finish the Orange and Cinnamon Braided Sweet Bread to your taste. It is a really versatile recipe. Indeed, you can adapt it with creativity and also to your own special diet to make it a perfect breakfast, snack, or dessert!
Usually it is arrange in a straight loaf, but you can make it as a wreath to add holiday gleaming to the table.
If you prefer a richer flavor, you can replace the orange jam with chocolate or chocolate and hazelnut spread!
- 4 1/2 tsp. active dry or instant yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup + 2/3 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup soft butter
- 1/2 cup lukewarm whole milk
- 2 tsp. salt
- 3 large eggs
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup orange jam
- Optional 2 tsp. orange zest
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- sliced almonds, for top
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup of the butter, milk, salt, eggs and 2-1/2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes or knead with the mixer until smooth. Place into a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/4 hours.
- Deflate dough. Turn onto a floured surface and divide in half. Roll each piece into a 24-in. x 13-in. rectangle. Spread 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/3-1/2 cup orange jam to within 1/2 in. of edges. If using orange zest, sprinkle over the jam. Combine the cinnamon and remaining sugar. Sprinkle over jam.
- Roll up the dough on the long side. Cut the roll in half lengthwise. Pinch one end together and twist the two strands together 3 or 4 times to make a braid shape. Pinch together the other end. Place onto a large greased baking sheet. Repeat with the second piece of dough *
- Cover and allow to rise until puffy, about 30 minutes. If using almonds, scatter a few on top before baking.
- Bake in a pre-heated 350° oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans and let cool down on a cooling rack.
* If you do not want to eat the 2 loaves, or share one with your lovely friends, just freeze the dough!
The tradition behind the braided sweet bread
The braided sweet bread is a culinary tradition from the Trentino Alto Adige Region. They say that this sweet bread has Austrian origins.
Indeed, the “Kranz” is a typical Northern Europe dessert, and it is really similar. It looks like, during the Austrian occupation in Italy, the Italian pastry chefs discovered the recipe and made it their own way.
Furthermore, this bread comes from a tradition linked to Italian All Saints’ Day (November 1st). The story says that in the past the men were buried with their wife’s braid.
The tradition survived but they started to bury their loved ones with a braided sweet bread instead of a real braid.
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