What a stunner! This homemade bread is glazed with a cherry and ginger jam to bring on all the festive feels. And while it may look intricate, it’s surprisingly easier than you think to create. Sweet, fruity and with the perfect hum of spice, it’s almost too pretty to eat. Almost…
10g instant dried yeast
60ml (2 fl oz) warm water
125ml (4 fl oz) warm milk
2 large eggs, beaten
600g (1 lb 5 oz) low protein flour (also known as cake flour), plus extra for dusting
60g (2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
1 tsp sea salt flakes
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
60g (2 oz) softened butter
oil spray, for greasing
Cherry and ginger jam
500g (1 lb) pitted fresh cherries
100g (3.5 oz) crystalised ginger, diced
250g (9 oz) white sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
To make the cherry and ginger jam, add pitted cherries, ginger, sugar and cinnamon sticks to a medium-sized saucepan. Place over a low heat and bring to the simmer. Cook for 30-45 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and you have a slightly runny, jam consistency. Remove cinnamon stick with tongs and discard. Transfer jam to a bowl and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to thicken and cool.
Add yeast and warm water to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix together with a spoon and leave for 5 minutes until you can see the yeast is bubbling slightly. Pour in milk and eggs. Attach the dough hook attachment to the mixer.
Sift in the flour and sugar. Add the salt and spices. Turn the mixer on to low speed and mix ingredients until the dough is just combined. Add in the softened butter and increase the speed to low-medium. Keep mixing for 8 minutes until the dough is smooth, elastic and holding a nice shape.
Meanwhile, lightly spray a bowl with the oil and set aside. Dust the benchtop with a little flour and turn out the dough. Gently knead dough for 1 minute, then shape into a nice smooth ball and transfer to the greased bowl. Cover bowl with cling film, then leave for 45 minutes at room temperature or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 175C/350F. Line a large baking tray with some greaseproof paper, then place a small greased cake tin (roughly 10cm/4” in diameter) upside-down in the middle. This will act as a guide for when it comes to shaping the wreath.
Once the dough has risen, empty out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough into a large rectangle roughly ½ cm thick (3/16”) and measuring 30cm x 50cm (12” x 20”) in size. Evenly spread the cherry jam to cover the entire surface of the dough. Roll dough into a log shape using the 50cm length – you want it nice and long. Make sure the log is even in shape from start to end.
Cut the log in half lengthways to reveal all of the layers and jam on the inside. Place the 2 halves of dough side by side, then twist the 2 pieces of dough over each other. Continue twisting to ‘braid’ the dough until you’ve worked along the whole length. Carefully transfer the braided dough onto your baking tray, shaping it around the outside of the cake tin. Gently fold the edges underneath to create a perfect looking wreath.
Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool before diving in (although I find it’s best served warm with some butter!).