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Apple Braid

Apple Braid
Adapted from La Fuji Mama and Eat, Live, Run
Makes one 14-inch loaf

3 to 4 medium sized apples (I used Jonathans)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 ½ cups bread flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 (1/4 oz) packet dry active yeast
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
2 ¼ teaspoons vegetable oil

1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
5 teaspoons whipping cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Pinch of nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Make the apple filling: Peel, core, and chop apples into 1-inch dice. In an 8-inch baking pan (or similar size), toss together apples, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice, Bake the apples for 15 minutes. Remove from oven; set aside. Leave oven on.
2. While the apple filling is baking, make the bread: In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Add water and oil and mix with dough hook on medium-high speed for 6 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (Alternately you can knead by hand on a clean, lightly floured work surface until smooth and elastic.) Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface and knead about 3 or 4 times to give it a smooth surface. Roll out dough into a large rectangle about 12-inches by 16-inches. Lift onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
3. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut each of the long sides of the dough into 1-inch strips, leaving the center third uncut. Spread the apple filling down the middle (uncut) portion of the dough. Starting on the left side, fold the top strip of dough over the filling. Then fold the top strip on the right side over the filling and the other strip, making an X shape across the filling. Press lightly on the ends to seal. Repeat with remaining strips of dough. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for several minutes.
4. While the braid is cooling, make the glaze: Whisk together confectioner’s sugar, whipping cream, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg in a small bowl. When braid is slightly cooled, brush the glaze over top in a thick coat. Transfer braid to a wire rack set over a cooling rack to catch any drips. Serve warm or let cool to room temperature.

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