Almond Braid Sweet Bread
 
 
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Ingredients
For the bread:
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup mashed potatoes
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup warm milk
  • 1 packet (2¼ teaspoons) yeast
  • 6 tablespoons warm water
For the filling:
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 7 ounce almond paste
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
For the topping (glaze & pecans):
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup half and half
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
Instructions
For the dough:
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the mashed potato.
  3. Pour the warm water into a small bowl, and stir in the yeast to dissolve. Add the yeast mixture and warm milk to the butter, sugar, and eggs mixture. Mix until just incorporated.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture to wet mixture, and mix until just incorporated (switch to your hook attachment for your electric mixer if you have one available).
  5. Lightly grease a bowl with a little canola oil, and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel, and place in a warm spot to rise for 1½ hours.
  6. While the dough is rising, mix together all the ingredients for the filling. Cover with plastic wrap, then set aside.
To assemble:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on a clean work surface. Divide the dough in half, then slice each of the halves into thirds. You should end up with 6 pieces of dough. Pat or roll each into long rectangles (about 4''x8''). Spread the almond paste mixture on each rectangle. Starting with the short ends, roll the dough into logs. Stretch a bit to make a ‘rope’.
  3. Take those 3 rope pieces, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then braid. Place the remaining 3 rope pieces right next to the braided loaf, and braid.
  4. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a towel, and let it rise again for 30 minutes.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until light brown.
For the topping (glaze & pecan):
  1. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the glaze, except the pecans, with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour over the warm loaves, then top with chopped pecans (optional)
Recipe by Sprig and Flours at http://www.sprigandflours.com/almond-braid-sweet-bread/