My love affair with maple just got wilder and more obsessive. Torrid, even! It knows no bounds, respects no limits, takes no prisoners. There…every cliché I could come up with at the moment. (Sorry, Mr. Bass. You tried to teach me better.) I truly have no self-control when it comes to maple.
Here is a tempting loaf of white bread with sweet swirls of maple and toasted pecans. Toasting the pecans is what really takes the flavor over the top, and is such an easy thing to do. You can use your oven, but I just put them in a skillet on the stove at medium low for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fragrance drives me crazy. They’re done at that point, but you might need to test them to be absolutely sure. Actually, you might need to test them a few times!
Although this bread is delightful just as it is, I recommend trying it toasted. Yum! It also makes scrumptious French Toast. Making a spiral bread is easy, and very attractive, but I wanted to try a layered bread because I envisioned stripes of maple pecan instead of a spiral. I don’t know why…sometimes I just have to do what the little voices in my head tell me to do.
Here’s the recipe in all its glory. I would like to mention that the filling calls for one tablespoon of Mapleine (a maple flavoring.) If you have
plebian controllable maple cravings, this is the perfect amount to give your bread a pleasant maple flavor. Frankly, that’s like adding a precise jigger of vodka to a Bloody Mary. Adequate, but a little more is always better! I usually add a bit more (to both mixtures!)
|Maple Pecan Spiral Bread
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1¾ cups hot water
- ½ cup sugar
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup butter, softened (you may use oil if you prefer)
- 5½ - 6 cups all purpose white flour
- MAPLE FILLING:
- 1½ cup toasted pecans, finely chopped (please don't skip the toasting step!)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon Mapleine
- Test the yeast by adding it to ¼ cup warm (not hot) water and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl. (Note: this water and sugar is in addition to the amounts listed above.) Stir lightly and set aside for 10 minutes. If it doesn't bubble and rise up, try again with another package of yeast.
- In a large bowl (a stand mixer is best) combine the hot water, sugar, salt, and butter. Stir well.
- Add 3 cups of the flour and stir.
- When your yeast mixture is bubbly, pour it into the flour mixture and mix well.
- Gradually beat in the remaining flour until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.
- Knead until smooth (about 8 minutes by hand, 5 minutes if using a dough hook.)
- Place dough in a large oiled bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm spot to rise just until doubled - about 1 hour.
- While the dough is rising, Make the maple filling by combining the toasted pecans, brown sugar, white sugar, flour, and Mapleine in a small bowl. (To make sure it's well mixed, use your hands!) Set aside.
- Grease or spray (I like Baker's Joy) two bread pans.
- Punch down the dough and let it stand for 5 minutes. Divide into 2 equal parts and, working with one at a time, roll out to a rectangle, approximately 12"x7", with a short edge towards you.
- Lightly brush (or spray) the dough with water. (This will help keep it from developing air pockets.)
- Cover generously with maple mixture and pat down firmly. Beginning with the short end, roll away from yourself. Don't worry if a little filling comes out the sides. Turn the seam to the bottom and pinch both sides to close. Set the dough seam down in prepared bread pan. Repeat with the other piece of dough. If you have leftover filling, put it in an airtight container - it's wonderful on hot cereal or as a streusel topping for muffins.
- Cover loaves with a dishtowel and let them rise until almost doubled - approximately 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 375F.
- Bake loaves for 40-45 minutes, until they're a rich golden brown. Let cool slightly, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling. I like to butter the crust a little while the loaf is still warm.
To make layered bread, follow the recipe until step #10. After you divide your dough into two parts, roll each part into a 8″x16″ rectangle. Cut four pieces, each 8″x4″. Put one piece into the prepared pan, Lightly brush (or spray) with water, cover it with a layer of maple filling, and repeat, twice, with the fourth piece of dough on the top. Tuck the sides down gently, and allow to rise as usual. After baking, turn them out right away onto a rack. If you let them cool in the pans, the gooey sides will stick. Be gentle, and let them rest on their sides to cool completely.
I’ll admit it’s not the most attractive bread I’ve ever seen (maybe we can just call it “rustic”, ok?) but the slices themselves are very pretty!
Now I’m imagining the maple filling in cinnamon rolls, with a maple frosting. Oh oh…I barely get the kitchen clean from one baking spree and another is already building. Stand back – I’m going in there!