Saturday, January 21, 2012

Roscon de Reyes by Loka Saksini

4 1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup warm water (about 100 F or 37 C)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup bread flour
1 cup warm milk
1/4 cup softened butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp egg replacer powder, or cornstarch
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups bread flour

2 Tbsp (30 ml) melted butter
1/2 (75 g) cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (50 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup (100 g) coarsely chopped dried fruits (apricots, raisins, cranberries, or a mixture)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) lemon or orange zest

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 Tbsp milk

In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, warm water, and sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add 1/2 cup flour, and mix together. Let rest until very bubbly; about 10 minutes.

In a small saucepan, warm the milk to about 100 F or 37 C. Remove from heat and add the butter, salt, sugar, vanilla, and cornstarch, stirring to combine. Add to yeast mixture, and mix. Add 3 cups of the flour, mixing thoroughly. Add enough of the remaining flour until dough forms a moist, but not sticky, ball when mixed. Remove dough from mixing bowl and knead by hand on a floured surface until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Shape dough into a ball, and place in a large mixing bowl which has been greased with a little vegetable oil or butter. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and allow to rise until dough has doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours..

When dough has doubled, punch down, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough 1/2 inch thick into a rectangle shape, about 12 inches by 20 inches, with long edge closest to you. Brush dough evenly with the melted butter, leaving a 1 inch bare strip of dough along the top long edge. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, then add nuts, fruits, and zest, stirring to coat evenly with the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Sprinkle this evenly on the buttered dough, avoiding the top 1 inch of the long edge. Beginning at the long end closest to you, roll dough tightly into a tube shape (jelly-roll style), working towards the edge of dough without butter or filling. Pinch the seam firmly to seal the roll.

Place rolled dough onto a large lightly-greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place dough seam side down, and bring both ends of the roll together to form a ring shape. To seal the seam where the two edges meet, gently stretch one edge of the dough and pull over the other so that one end is tucked inside. (Dough will look like a snake swallowing its tail!) Press dough gently together to make it as seamless a ring as possible. With a sharp knife, make slices in the dough every 1 ½ inches all the way around the ring, but not cutting all the way through the dough. Only cut about halfway through the dough so that slices are all still attached. Cover bread with plastic wrap, and let rise again until nearly doubled, about 45 minutes.

While bread is rising, preheat oven to 375 F. Bake bread for 35 to 45 minutes or until bread is nicely golden brown all over. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely.

To decorate with glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, almond extract, and milk in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze over the cooled bread. If you like, you can decorate with candied cherries and sliced toasted almonds.) Let glaze set for at least 30 minutes to stiffen on bread before slicing.

Note: Oh, I used a mix of bread flour and whole wheat flour in the dough. You can use whatever flour combo you like.

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