Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cranberry & Orange Twisted Loaf

A scone with a twist! One look at the loaf, and one would think that it is a twisted loaf bread! This twisted loaf is made with a scone dough. And there's no yeast, like most scones recipes, it uses baking powder. So it really isn't a bread, but more of a loaf of scone.

This lovely recipe is from the book "Bread" by Dean Brettschneider, my current cookbook obsession at the moment! I just can't seem to put this book down. This is the third recipe I've tried from this book which I bought just a few months ago. There are loads of recipes bookmarked from the book, time is the only factor that is keeping me from trying them out sooner. I do have his other book "Pie", bought ages ago, but have not tried anything from it so far, perhaps I should jump on to that book next.

As with most scones recipes, the dough uses baking powder. And the flavour of the dough is enhanced by the orange zest, which gives a lovely orange fragrance. The author says the secret to these scones, is the vanilla, and I do agree! There's vanilla extract in the dough and in the glaze, smells really nice! The dried cranberry filling is made the day before, and I'm wondering why it is done as such. I figured that the cranberry filling can be made in the morning and used immediately after that. Anyway, I left mine in the fridge for two days, before using it.

The cranberry filling is made by boiling dried cranberries with fresh orange juice and thickened with a little cornflour solution. Allow mixture to cool, then tip the whole lot onto a chopping board and chop with a large chef's knife until it become a thick, spreadable paste. I did the easy way using the blender to puree it to a thick paste. Takes only seconds! Taking into consideration, if chopping it with a knife would give a coarse texture, and by using the blender, the cranberry paste will be like a thick puree. Which is fine with me, as the cranberry paste tastes very nice! It would be nice to spread on a piece of bread, just like jam.

Make the dough, taking care not to over knead it. Divide into two equal pieces and roll out each piece to a square. Spread the cranberry filling evenly on each square, roll them up tightly like a Swiss roll. Working on one log at a time, cut right through each log lengthwise. Beginning at one end, twist strands around each other down the length of the strands. Press the ends firmly together so they do not unwind during baking. Repeat with the other roll. Place the twists on lined baking sheet, spaced well apart as they will rise  a little during baking. Brush with egg wash, let rest for 10 minutes and bake as directed.

Make the Vanilla White Icing and use it while still warm. Use a pastry brush to brush the icing over the warm twist. Recipe mentioned to cool glazed twists completely before eating, but I find that eating them while still warm is the best.

The crumbs are moist, soft, smells wonderful from the orange and the flavour of the zest really shines through. I like the cranberry filling, it pairs perfectly with these lovely twisted loaves. The Vanilla White Icing is a little sweet, so for a lesser sweet taste, the next time, I would drizzle them lightly over the twists instead of brushing them over. I would not entirely skip on the icing, as it is very nice, albeit just a little too sweet. Most scones do not keep well overnight, as they would turn a little stale, but not these! These yummy scones stays just as soft on the next day! Really nice with a cup of warm tea.

Cranberry & Orange Twisted Loaf
(adapted from "Bread", Dean Brettschneider, or here)
Makes 2 small twists
Filling :
200gm dried cranberries, roughly chopped
juice of 3 oranges (150 ml) (or good-quality store-bought orange juice) - zest 2 oranges first and reserve zest for dough
1-1/2 tsp cornflour, mixed to a slurry with 1 tbsp water

Dough :
400gm plain flour
20gm caster sugar
good pinch of salt
25gm baking powder
zest of 2 oranges
70gm butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
200ml milk

1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp water, for egg wash
additional flour for dusting
Vanilla White icing **

Prepare filling a day in advance. Place cranberries and juice in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, add the cornflour slurry and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick. The cranberries should soften and swell during cooking. Allow mixture to cool. Tip mixture out onto a chopping board and chop with a large chef's knife to give a thick, spreadable paste. Set aside. (I pureed the cranberry in the blender to a thick paste).

The next day, sift flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Stir in orange zest. Add softened butter and rub in using your fingertips and thumbs until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Whisk egg, vanilla and milk together in a bowl and pour into dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, mix together to form a soft dough.

Tip dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 10-20 seconds. Take care not to over-knead or the dough will become too elastic. Cut dough into two equal pieces and shape into squares. Using a rolling pin on a floured work surface, roll out each dough piece to a 25cm square.

Divide filling in half. Using a palette knife, spread filling evenly on each dough sheet, leaving about 1cm free along one edge. Brush egg wash along the edge. Working towards the edge painted with egg wash, firmly and tightly roll up each dough sheet to achieve a Swiss roll or log shape. Using a large chef's knife or dough scraper, make a single cut lengthways right through the middle of each log. For each log, take one strand in each hand, with the cut side of each strand facing upwards. Beginning at one end, twist strands around each other down the length of the strands. Press the ends firmly together so they do not unwind during baking.

Place twists on a baking tray lined with baking paper, keeping them well apart so they don't join together during baking. Brush with egg wash and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Bake twists in a preheated 210C oven for 25-30 minutes. Turn tray halfway through baking time to ensure an even colour. While loaves are baking, make icing. Cover and set aside.

Remove twists from oven and leave to cool slightly. While they are still warm, gently heat icing in a microwave and use a pastry brush to brush it over the twists. Leave to cool completely before eating.

** Vanilla White Icing
25gm butter
45gm cream
1 tsp vanilla extract with seeds
150gm icing sugar

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and gently melt together over a low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula. Use while warm.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Wednesday, which the lovely Marjie of Modern Day Ozzie and Harriet is currently hosting, while Louise is taking a break.




  1. made me craved for a slice from the way you had described the bread...
    Yes, Im also into my books these days with bread manking too, and there were so many bread recipes that were waiting for me...But unfortunately, some were those the lil ones might not fancy... :p

  2. It must smell and taste heavenly, Joyce!

  3. Hi Joyce,
    I thought braided bread but it's scone with a twist ...with cranberry filling and brush with vanilla icing. Must be yummy-licious!

  4. I've linked you up; your braided scone looks delicious. If all of the recipes in this book are this good, no wonder you love it!

  5. Joyce, your scone with a twist looks so inviting and perfect for breakfast or tea. I bet it's yummilicious!!

  6. Hi Joyce, this is such a delicious twist using scones! The icing is simply irresistible!

  7. Joyce, it reminds me of a cinnamon roll... yummeh!

  8. I love the combination of orange and cranberry...looks delicious Joyce especially with the vanilla icing on top...
    Have a great week :)

  9. Hi Joyce,

    This is not just a scone with a twist... It is a bread with a super yummy twist. If I get to eat this bread, I will choose to eat the slice with the most twist :p


  10. Joyce, I can't take my eyes off yhis Cranberry Orange Twisted Loaf! It looks very sweet with all that sticky glaze but I think I will like this a lot. Can't wait to try it!