Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easy Bread Wreath for your Easter Sunday

KQED TV has this fantastic food blog from which I stole the following yummy bread recipe.  It's decorative and easy to make, and the whole bread-honey-butter thing sounds very Eastery to me.

Here's KQED's photo:

I made mine gluten-free (for Mom) so replaced the whole wheat flour with buckwheat flour, and the all-purpose flour with brown rice flour, plus 2 1/2 tsp on Xanthan gum, essential in gluten-free baking.  Anyway, because of the buckwheat, mine turned out much darker in color, like this:

Buckwheat flour has kind of a strong flavor, and it takes a little getting used to, so I wasn't sure I would love it.  But, bread is bread, really; I never met a loaf I didn't love.  And, while the recipe calls for making a melted butter-honey dip, I just slathered the butter on and drizzled the honey right from the jar - freaking delicious!  Buckwheat and honey were made for each other.  Happy Easter, Everyone!

Honey-Wheat Bread Wreath with Honey Butter
This beautiful bread wreath makes for an impressive touch to any table, and is much easier than it looks. It also happens to be delicious and wholesome, full of good things like buttermilk, honey, and butter. (Adapted from A Taste of Home’s Whole Wheat Honey Rolls and Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day’s Holiday Wreath Bread.)
Prep Time: 25 minutes + 1 hour 30 minutes rising time
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Yield: 8-10 servings
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
2 cups warm buttermilk (110° to 115°)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup honey
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour + about 1/2 cup for kneading
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm buttermilk. Add the butter, honey, whole wheat flour, salt and baking soda. Beat until smooth. Stir in all-purpose flour to form a soft dough (if it is looking too soft to knead, add more flour).
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and stretch the dough into a ring. Place the ring on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Let rest for about 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 450°.
  4. Right before baking, sprinkle the dough with flour. Using kitchen scissors, snip the wreath at a sharp angle, almost to the bottom of the ring to form points. The points should still be connected to the ring since you’re not cutting clean through. Now lay the points out so that they are fanned out a bit.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
For the Honey Butter:
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup honey
fleur de sel or sea salt
Mix the butter and honey until smooth. Place in a ramekin or serving bowl and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Watch people swoon as they slather it on their warm bread and inhale.

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