“This recipe pays homage to a neighbor that first introduced me to making yeast breads at a young age. The orange infused dough is filled with a cinnamon, date, and walnut filling that reminds me of the holidays.” — Kellie White, Valley Park, Missouri
2017 National Festival of Breads
¼ cup fresh orange juice
½ cup plus ½ teaspoon yellow cornmeal, divided
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
¼ cup molasses
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water (110°F – 115°F)
1 (¼ ounce) package RED STAR® Active Dry Yeast
3 ¼ – 3 ½ cups KING ARTHUR® Unbleached Bread Flour
¾ cup pitted whole dates
¾ cup walnut halves
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground dried ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest, loosely packed
- Using a microplane zester, grate just the outer layer of orange and reserve for the filling. Extract orange juice and warm to 110°F – 115°F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle, combine orange juice, ½ cup cornmeal, 3 tablespoons melted butter, molasses, salt; set aside to soak for 15 minutes.
- After this mixture soaks, whisk together warm water and yeast; wait 5 – 10 minutes for mixture to foam (proof).
- Add the yeast to the mixer bowl; gradually stir in 3 ¼ cups flour. Switch to the dough hook and knead 8 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gradually knead in additional flour to form a soft, workable dough.
- Transfer dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 1 – 1 ½ hours.
- In food processor bowl, pulse the dates, walnuts, and sugar in small even pieces. Transfer mixture to medium bowl; stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, vanilla, and reserved orange zest; cover and set aside.
- Deflate dough; cover and let rest 5 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough into a 12" x 20" rectangle. Brush with 2 tablespoons softened butter, leaving ¼" border on all sides. Sprinkle the filling on the dough. Starting at long side, tightly roll dough; pinch seam to seal. Place seam-side down; cut the log in half lengthwise. Keeping the cut side up, twist the two pieces together.
- Form into a ring, overlap and secure ends to form wreath. Transfer to a parchment-lined large baking sheet. Cover with greased plastic; let rise until almost doubled, about 40 minutes.
- While dough is rising, preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle top with ½ teaspoon cornmeal. Bake 40 – 45 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Tent with foil to prevent over-browning. Bread is done when it is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted registers about 195°F. Remove from the oven, cool on rack.
Yield: 1 wreath, 20 servings.
Nutrition Information Per Serving (1 SLICE, 67g): 200 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6g fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 10mg cholesterol, 135mg sodium, 34g total carbohydrates, 2g dietary fiber, 12g sugars, 4g protein, 48mcg folate, 2mg vitamin C, 26mg calcium, 2mg iron.