This delicious, soft apple bread is perfect for breakfast or dessert. Rolling the apple-cinnamon filling inside a log of dough (like the start of cinnamon buns), then cutting that log in half and twisting it leaves the filling half in and half out, resulting in a lovely swirled appearance.
I decided I had yeast and some honey crisp apple that I needed to use up, so let's get creative! Then as I was looking for inspiration, I thought, why not make bread that we can enjoy for dessert or breakfast the following morning. The kids were on board, so we got to work.
Who turns down a fresh homemade pastry anyway? Right.
What Apples Work Best?
Apple bread needs the best apples for the best recipe. You can use a variety of apples that will work just fine if you don’t have access to the best ones. But, for this recipe, the best apples you can use are Granny Smith Apples or delicious Honey Crisp Apples. Make sure whatever apples you choose are baking apples. Other apples will not work well in this recipe because they will either become too mushy or soften enough.
What Ingredients are Needed for Braided Apple Cinnamon Bread?
- Sugar– Every great dessert has sugar.
- Cinnamon spice– Cinnamon spice goes perfectly with apples.
- Apples– You will have them peeled and diced and use granny smith or honey to work well.
- Lemon juice- This will keep the apples from turning brown.
- Cheddar cheese- You will want the shredded cheese sprinkled over the apples.
- All-purpose flour– All-purpose flour is best to use, King Arthur is my favorite.
- Brown sugar– This will add richness to your bread recipe.
- Butter– You will want to use unsalted to control the amount of salt in a recipe.
- Maple extract– Use pure maple for the best flavoring.
- Active dry yeast– Make sure the yeast has not expired.
- Salt- This will bring out the flavors in your bread.
- Water- Will be heated and added to the butter and buttermilk.
- Buttermilk– You can use milk with vinegar in it as a substitute.
- Egg- Make sure your eggs are at room temperature.
- Powdered sugar- Powdered sugar is perfect for homemade frosting.
- Milk- You can use whole, 2%, or Half and Half
Now that you have all the ingredients, here is the recipe below. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Braided Apple Cinnamon Bread
- ⅓ c granulated sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon spice
- 3 c apples peeled and diced granny smith or honey crisp work well
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 c cheddar cheese shredded
Crumb for Filling
- ¾ c all-purpose flour
- ½ c brown sugar
- 4 tbsp butter
- ¼ tsp maple extract
- 4 c flour plus extra for rolling out dough
- ⅓ c granulated sugar
- 2 envelopes active dry yeast
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ c water
- ½ c buttermilk
- 4 tbsp butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg white beaten
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 c powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp milk or half and half
- 1 tbsp butter
- ⅛ tsp maple extract
- Combine granulated sugar, corn starch, cinnamon. Add in chopped apple and lemon juice. Toss until well-coated.
- Place flour, brown sugar, maple extract, and butter in a bowl and cut in with a fork or pastry blender until it is a crumbly texture. If not dry enough to crumble, add in a bit more flour.
- Using a stand mixer, mix together 1 cup flour, granulated sugar, yeast powder, and salt.
- Heat water, buttermilk, and butter until warmed to about 125 degrees. Add gradually to the flour mixture.
- Beat on medium speed until thoroughly combined, scraping bowl as needed.
- Add the eggs and 1½ cups flour, mixing until combined.
- Stir in enough of the remaining flour to achieve a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for approx. 8 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Cover and let dough rest for 15 minutes.
- Divide dough in half and roll each half to a 12x14 inch rectangle, trying to keep sides as straight as possible.
- Remove rectangles to the parchment lined baking sheets.
- Spoon ½ of apple mixture down center of rectangle in an approx. 3-inch strip.
- Sprinkle ½ of the cheddar cheese over the apples.
- Sprinkle ½ of the crumb filling over the apples and cheese.
- Starting at one long end of the dough, make knife cuts approx. 3-inch long and 1-inch wide down length of the dough rectangle. Repeat for the other end.
- Alternating sides, fold strips across to the center of the dough.
- Repeat the process for the other half of the dough.
- Cover braids and let rise for 1-hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Using a fork, mix water into egg white till thoroughly combined.
- Brush egg white mixture across the top of each bread.
- Bake in the preheated oven for approx. 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Transfer from pans to wire racks to cool.
- Combine powdered sugar, milk, butter, and maple extract with a fork or whisk until smooth.
- Drizzle icing across the cooled braids.