Our streak of rainy days last week tested my creativity.
Filling the hours of our day with educational, developmentally challenging activity is hard enough on days we can go outside, but when the outdoors is a slushy, miserable mess, I run out of ideas early.
Pair that with a little guy who suddenly decided he doesn’t need naps anymore, and you’ve got a recipe for tears all around by dinnertime.
Lucky for me, we both like to spend time in the kitchen together, so we´ve been doing a lot of baking and beater-licking while we wait for better weather. This beautiful bread is tedious, but many steps make for many opportunities to learn, and now we have a lovely treat for this week´s tea parties.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup raspberry jam
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 egg (for wash)
Heat your milk to about 100 F.
Stir in the sugar and yeast and let sit 10 minutes until frothy.
Stir in the vanilla and melted butter.
Add your flower and salt in three stages, thoroughly combining between each addition. The dough will be sticky, but continue to knead for 10 minutes, dusting with flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth and springy.
Move into a large, greased bowl, cover, and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Punch the dough down and cut into four equal portions. Gently knead each portion and roll into balls.
Roll one ball into a 12-inch circle and move to the greased baking sheet. You will assemble the bread directly on the tray. The dough will be thin.
It is important that all the layers are the same size and shape, so use a pie tin or paper plate as a template.
Spread 1 tablespoon of butter onto the round, leaving a 1-inch margin along the edge.
Spread ¼ cup of raspberry jam on top of the butter, again leaving a 1-inch margin.
Roll out your next round of dough and lay on top. Carefully press the edges to seal.
Repeat the butter and jam process, making sure to keep the outside edges clean.
Roll out your next round and repeat.
Top with the last round of dough and gently press everything down.
Take a glass or biscuit cutter and carefully press into the center to create an indent. Do not press so hard you cut through. This circle will be your cutting guide.
With a sharp knife, cut the bread into 16 slices (like a pizza) but only cutting from the edge up to the indent. Leave the center intact.
Take two slices and twist them away from each other two times, then press the tips together to seal, creating a petal or teardrop shape.
Repeat all the way around.
Cover with a damp towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
Brush with egg wash and move immediately to a 350-degree oven.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.
Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before breaking apart or the jam will still be too hot.
I used raspberry jam because it is my son´s favorite, but basically any filling that isn’t too wet will work. Try Nutella, or brown sugar, butter and pecans. I would recommend against using fresh fruit because there will be too much moisture and the bread will end up soggy. You could also go savory with whipped cream cheese, parsley and chives, or even pizza toppings like tomato sauce, mozzarella, and pepperoni for an extra-fancy pull-apart pizza dinner.