Baking Through the Alphabet: A is for Apple Pie Pull Apart Bread

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I had an epiphany a few months ago…but I never went through with it. Cheryl and I actually bought ingredients for it, but we never did it.

The epiphany came back a few days ago.

I’M GOING TO BAKE THROUGH THE ALPHABET.

Yaknow, desserts that start with A, then B, then C, and so on. What’s going to happen when I get to Q or X? We’ll see. Maybe I’ll cop out and make a Chinese dessert/baked good. It’ll be a surprise for me, too.

So, first things first: A. A IS FOR APPLE PIE PULL APART BREAD.

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Think…apple pie meets cinnamon roll. It’s SO GOOD. I found this recipe while scrolling through foodgawker (during class, probably), and I thought it was such an interesting combination! My only issue with the apple pie pull apart bread recipes that I found was that they used Pilsbury refrigerated biscuit rolls as the bread, and in my book…that’s a no-no. It’s no fun when you don’t get to play with dough and make it from scratch! Maybe I’ll change my mind when I get married and have kids, haha!

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But I decided to use the bread recipe from Joy the Baker’s cinnamon sugar pull apart bread. I made some adjustments for the filling, crossed my fingers, and hoped that it would come out okay. And it did! The bread and filling was gooey and cinnamon-y, and the baked apple slices between the bread slices tasted just like an apple pie.

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Oh, and the GLAZE that went on top of it was yum-o! I had considered not making the glaze, but my roommate convinced me otherwise, and she was right! Not only did the bread look much better, but it also brought all the flavors together. Delicious fall flavors–all in one loaf! =)

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Apple Pie Pull Apart Bread with Vanilla Glaze
Makes one loaf
Adapted from Joy the Baker and The Comfort of Cooking

Ingredients:

For the Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 medium apple, cored and thinly sliced (I used a Fuji apple)

For the Vanilla Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and set aside.

In a medium bowl, melt together the milk and butter in the microwave (you could also do this in a small saucepan on the stove). When the butter has just melted, add the water and vanilla extract. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes.

Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and mix with a spatula. Add the eggs, and stir until the eggs are incorporated into the dough. The dough will be extremely sticky; try not to add too much flour or else the dough will come out too dry.

Place the dough into a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour. Alternatively, you can also let the dough rise until doubled in size, then refrigerate overnight to use in the morning. I did this and it came out just fine =)

While the dough is rising, make the filling. Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and set aside. Coat the apple slices in the cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg mixture and set aside. Keep the leftover sugar mixture and set that aside too.  Line a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.

When the dough has risen, deflate it and knead it with a little flour. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 12×20-inch rectangle. Spread the melted butter across the dough. Take the leftover cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg mixture and sprinkle it over the dough.

Slice the dough vertically into six equal-sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another, and then slice the stack into six equal slices again. You should end up with six stacks of six squares. Place the dough squares into the lined loaf pan like a flip book. Take the sliced apple slices and stuff them between the squares. I stuffed 1-2 apple slices between each square. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and let it rise until doubled in size (I skipped this step because I was running late for class, but it came out fine!).

Place a rack in the cetner of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Bake the loaf for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is very golden brown.

While the loaf is baking, make the vanilla glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. When the loaf is done, let it cool for 20 minutes, and then drizzle the glaze over the warm bread, and ENJOY!

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Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy reading, eating, and baking!

Six-Banana Banana Bread

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I am super picky when it comes to bananas. I only eat bananas when they’re still slightly green. If there are brown spots, then nope. Sorry. For some reason, ripe bananas make me want to sneeze. And I hate the smell! My parents like buying bananas, but I think we go through phases. They either go out really quickly, or they just sit there and rot. So oftentimes we always have a whole bunch of bananas that are starting to brown that no one will eat, and I always feel so wasteful when they get so bad that we have to throw them out. I know the bananas are getting old when my mom starts asking when I’ll be making “banana cake.”

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Now don’t get me wrong, I love my banana crumb muffins recipe. It was the first post that got me onto foodgawker! But that recipe only uses three bananas. Then I stumbled across this recipe, which uses SIX (!!!!!!!) bananas in the banana bread. Amazing. This bread is so easy to make (you don’t need a mixer or anything! No creaming involved), and I think I’m still amazed at the fact that it uses so many bananas. That’s all the rotting bananas in my house! It’s super easy to put together, and the flavor is great. I like how it uses vanilla pudding mix in the batter; I think that’s what makes it so moist. Lots of banana flavor, super dense and soft, and it stays moist for days. It does take a little long to bake (mine took a little over an hour, I think), but it’s totally worth it. If the top starts to brown before the bread is done, just put a piece of foil over the top and it’ll be A-OK. This is my new go-to banana bread recipe; hope y’all enjoy =).

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Six-Banana Banana Bread
Makes one loaf
From Averie Cooks

Ingredients: 

1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sour cream or Greek Yogurt (I used Trader Joe’s Honey Greek Yogurt)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 medium/large very ripe bananas, mashed (2 1/2 cups)
one 3.4 ounce box vanilla instant pudding mix (make sure it’s not cook ‘n serve)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Prepare the loaf pan by spraying with floured cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan. Depending on the size of your loaf pan, you may need a muffin pan or mini loaf for leftover batter.

2. Whisk together the melted and cooled slightly butter, eggs, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, greek yogurt (or sour cream), and vanilla.

3. Add the mashed bananas; stir to incorporate. Add the pudding mix (don’t actually make the pudding, just add it like a dry ingredient), flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold with a spatula, being careful to not over mix.

4. Bake the loaf for 60 to 75 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (or with a few moist crumbs). If your bread is browning before it’s done, tent it with a piece of foil. Like the creator of this recipe, Averie, says, “watch your bread, not the clock.” I like that phrase!

5. Let the bread cool in pan for about 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving. Bread will keep airtight at room temperature for up to one week, but hopefully they’ll be gone before then =)! Enjoy!!

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Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy reading, eating, and baking!

Cinnamon Rolls

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Imagine you wake up each morning with $86,000 in your bank account. You can spend it on anything you like, and each day you earn another $86,000. But here’s the catch: whatever amount leftover that you don’t use disappears. What would you do? I don’t know about you, but I’d do my best to spend every dollar wisely everyday. I’d make sure that I had used the most of that $86,000 each day.

But think about this: We are given 86,400 seconds everyday. Whatever second you don’t use…disappears and never comes back. Whatever time we waste, we don’t get it back.

Same concept, right? But unlike that $86,000, I don’t use my 86,400 seconds wisely. I waste my time on meaningless things, like TV, facebook, tumblr, foodgawker, etc. Think about how much time I’m wasting that I could be using to glorify God! Think about how I could be using that time to meditate on Scripture, to invest in others, to build up relationships, and to grow in my walk with Christ!

It’s the start of a new quarter! It’s week two right now, and classes are alright. I’m taking fewer classes this quarter, so that means more time in the office, at my desk, in the kitchen, and hopefully outside meeting up with other people. I’ve realized that I’ve been a bit of a hermit, only wanting to go out of my way to meet up with people when I felt like it. This quarter, I’m hoping I can spend more time with people intentionally, to actually get to know how they’re doing and how I can pray for them. I’m hoping to manage my time more wisely to be able to do all the things I want to and have to do. Fingers crossed! That’s my prayer request–to use the time God has graced me with more wisely, and to be more motivated to study and to be intentional with others.

From J: “You have 86,400 seconds in a day. Use it wisely, because you’ll never get those seconds back.”

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With that said…let’s talk cinnamon. There’s something deliciously “cinn-ful” (you see what I did there? har har har) about cinnamon rolls. Soft, warm bread swirled with cinnamon and brown sugar, topped with a rich, creamy cream cheese (hehe you see what I did there again? Okay, I’m done) frosting. It’s a little rich, but a little piece here and there is alright. J has a sweet tooth for cinnamon rolls, and we were watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives this one day, and Guy Fieri went to this restaurant where they made these HUGEEEE cinnamon rolls, seriously easily the size an individual pizza. He turned to me and said, “Can you make that?” I say yes, but it was months before I actually got around to it (after he asked me numerous times). This was my second try at cinnamon rolls–the first one was a little off, like something was missing. This one..blew me away. The rolls came out super moist and soft, and I have to say, bread flour really does make a difference. Anyways, I hope you all try this treat. So good, and so easy. You can even let the rolls rise overnight and bake them off in the morning! They’ll be gone before you know it; trust me!!

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Cinnamon Rolls
Makes about 12 rolls
Adapted from All Recipes

Ingredients:

For the Dough:
2 1/2 teaspoons rapid rise/bread machine yeast
1 cup warm milk
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar

For the Filling:
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, softened

For the Frosting:
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, melted butter, salt, and eggs. Add the bread flour; mix well. Knead the dough into a large ball (dusting your hands with flour if needed), put it into a bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour). Meanwhile, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll the dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter onto the rolled out dough, and sprinkle it evenly with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. I like patting the mixture down into the dough. If you have extra, you can save it to sprinkle on top of the rolls before baking. Roll up the dough, and cut into 12 rolls. Place the rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan  (or two cake pans will work as well). Cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Alternatively, you could let it rise overnight in the fridge, and let it come to room temperature before baking the next morning.

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Remove the plastic warp, and bake the rolls in a preheated 400˚F oven until golden brown, about 13-17 minutes. While the rolls are baking, beat together the cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.

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When the rolls are finished, spread the frosting onto the rolls. Be generous! The rolls are best enjoyed while warm. If it has gone cold, pop it into the microwave for 30 seconds to warm it up, and it’ll be just as delicious!

Before the cream cheese goodness:

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After:

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I’m done. Happy Monday!

Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and happy reading, eating, and baking!

Chocolate Swirl Bread

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I am done with midterms! Hip, hip, hooray!!! And as usual, to celebrate, I’ll blog. Today we have a chocolate swirl bread (insert “ooooohs” and “ahhhs”)–and it is delicious. I followed the recipe exactly and the dough came out to be a little saltier than I would have liked it, so I would probably reduce it to 1 teaspoon next time. I also used bread flour instead of all-purpose flour, and the bread was extremely moist and had the right amount of chocolate. Definitely perfect to go with your cup of coffee in the morning!!

Chocolate Swirl Bread
Makes one loaf
Adapted from Recipe Interrupted

Ingredients:

3 cups bread flour, plus a little more for kneading and rolling
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk

Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Add the warm water and melted butter; mix until incorporated. If ingredients do not form a ball, add in a few more tablespoons of water. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Add in a little flour if the dough is too loose or wet. Place the dough in a buttered mixing bowl, rolling the dough around in it briefly to coat the dough lightly with butter. Cover bowl with a damp cloth and allow dough to rise for 2 hours in a warm spot, until about doubled in size.

Mean while, make the chocolate ganache filling. Place the chocolate in a small mixing bowl. Heat the cream just to boiling and pour over chocolate. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until chocolate is completely melted. Whisk the chocolate and cream together until smooth, then whisk in the egg yolk. Allow the ganache to set in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before using.

Once the dough has risen, roll if out to about 13″ x 18″ on a lightly floured surface. Spread the ganache on the dough; leave about a 1/2-inch border. Roll the dough into a log beginning with the long edge. Cut the dough in the middle. Stretch out dough slightly and twist the two lengths of dough together. Place the twisted dough into the loaf pan, tucking the end down towards the bottom of the pan.Brush the exposed surface of the dough with egg white. Bake for 50 minutes (mine was done earlier), or until bread is golden brown. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

P.S. If you head over Recipe Interrupted’s post, there are step by step pictures!
(Photo Credit for my post: Samantha Ho)

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Mmmm. I love bread. As you continue to read my blog, you’ll find that 1) I’m a picky eater, and 2) I love bread. I’m a total carb girl. My favorite part in a dumpling is the outer dough-y skin. My favorite part in a pizza is the crust (I actually sometimes eat everything separately. Toppings, then some of the cheese, then the bread). I love carbs, and that’ll probably all come back to bite me in the butt later on. But for now…bread4life. Actually, wait. Using the words bread and life in the same sentence reminds me of this:

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.'” – John 6:35 (ESV)

Desiring God says this: “Jesus is the bread that endures to eternal life. Coming to Jesus and trusting him is what it means to eat the true bread of heaven.” Eating the true bread of heaven means putting our faith in Jesus Christ and believing in the gospel. The gospel is the greatest act of love and the greatest gift one can receive. Jesus sent His son to die on the cross for our inadequacies, our sinfulness. Because of Christ’s work on the cross, we have a new life in Jesus and we will receive eternal life in heaven. It’s mindblowing–who would send his one and ONLY son to die for ME, a sinner unworthy of mercy and grace? Who would love me unconditionally despite all my sinful actions? Who would DIE on the cross to save MY sins, something that he didn’t even do? The answer to all of them: Jesus Christ. He is our Savior, our beloved. He is the bread of life.

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy Reading, Eating, and Baking!

BBQ Chicken Pizza Cups

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I have my last midterm for the quarter tomorrow…and here I am, blogging away. Study break, right? But even though I have a test tomorrow I’ve baked two days in a row already (insert #whataremidtermsidontknow)…I have a problem. Le sigh. Anyways, I’m not allowed to bake until this midterm is over. I guess this is the closest thing I’ll have to baking: blogging.

Today I present to you all…BBQ Chicken Pizza Cups! First off, who knew barbecue was spelled with a “c” and not a “q”?? If I didn’t get a little squiggly line under “barbeque” I would’ve never known. Secondly, I made these this past summer…and this is the best pizza dough I’ve had so far. It’s so soft, and I think the bread flour really makes a difference. The nice thing about this is that you can do pretty much anything you want with it. Pizza cups are fun to eat, and easy to take on the go when you’re in a rush. They’re a little more time consuming because you’re trying to mold the dough into a little muffin tin, so when I’m a lazy I just roll it out into a rectangle and bake it as a regular pizza. The dough still works for whatever you decide to do. The other day I made two batches of dough, bought a few toppings, and had a pizza party for me, J, my sister, and her boyfriend. It was good, except I totally mis-proportioned (is that a word?) the dough and I ended up with the biggest pizza that was almost double their pizzas. It was an accident, I promise! :p

(Photo Credit: Samantha Ho)

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BBQ Chicken Pizza Cups
Makes about 9 pizza cups
Adapted from My Kitchen Snippets

Ingredients: 

For the Pizza Dough:
1 packet dry yeast
3/4 cups of warm water
2 cups + 2 tablespoons bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar

For the Filling (you can really use anything):
1 cup cooked chicken
1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 small red onion, cut into cubes
1 cup barbecue sauce
pepper and seasonings to taste
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Let it stand about 10 minutes or until frothy.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, olive oil, and salt. Stir in the yeast mixture into the flour mixture. Knead it into a smooth dough; add a little flour if the dough is too sticky. Cover and let it rise until doubled.

Meanwhile, mix together the chicken, mushrooms, onions, pepper and seasoning, cheese, and barbecue sauce in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

When the dough has risen, punch the dough down and roll out the pizza dough on a clean, floured working table. Cut the dough to fit into a greased muffin tin. Fill the cups with the filling, and top it with more cheese. Bake in a preheated 375˚F oven until the pizza cups are bubbly and brown. Cool slightly in the pan before removing it.

Alternatively, you could also just roll the dough out to make a regular pizza. Just roll it into a rectangle/circle, top with your favorite sauce or toppings, and bake for about 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Now back to studying for my midterms…oh, econometrics, why are you so boring!

Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and happy reading, eating, and baking!

Blueberry Pull Apart Bread

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My roommate bought a two pound box of blueberries from Costco which led to snacks for class and a new ingredient for dessert. There’s something about blueberries (besides the fact that they are not blue on the inside at all! Before they’re baked, that is. They’re like mini grapes pre-cooking/baking!) that make you want to keep eating.

Anyway, blueberries in a dessert is just as good, maybe a little less healthy, but once in a while is okay right?? In that case, blueberry pull apart bread: soft, yummy bread filled with cinnamon-y and buttery and BLUEBERRY goodness. It’s a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it in the end. Anyways, enough yapping; here’s the recipe! And some step-by-step photos by my lovely roommate aka blueberry purchaser Samantha Ho!

Blueberry Pull Apart Bread
Makes one loaf
from 
Bex Built a Family

Ingredients:

For the dough:
2 3/4 cups bread flour (or all-purpose)
1/4 cup sugar (you might want to increase this; the bread wasn’t very sweet. BUT it should be perfect with the icing!)
1 envelope rapid rise yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup whole milk
half stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temp
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temp.
1 tbsp. cinnamon

Blueberry filling:
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen is fine)
half stick of unsalted butter, melted
1 – 2 tbsp. cinnamon
2-3 tbsp. sugar

Icing (optional):
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp. whole milk

Warm the 1/3 cup of milk (in a saucepan or the microwave), then stir in the yeast to activate. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the bread flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add in the water, eggs, and vanilla extract. It’ll look a little dry, but add in your milk and yeast mixture until it starts to come together. Don’t worry if the dough is sticky–that’s how it’ll be.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, adding flour and kneading until the dough isn’t sticky anymore. Keep kneading until the dough turns into a smooth ball, but don’t over knead. Place your dough ball into a greased bowl, cover with a warm towel, and let is rise until doubled. It should look like this after it rises:

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Nice and puffy! Poke the dough; if it holds the shape of your thumb, you’re good to go.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and use a rolling pin (or even cup) to roll the dough into a rectangle that’s about 1/4″ thick. Brush the top with the butter, then sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon:

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Slice the rectangle into 6 even strips. Sprinkle some blueberries on a strip (save about 1/4 cup for later), then lay another strip on top. Add more blueberries, lay another strip, add more blueberries, then lay another strip. This is how it should look like:

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Look at all those blueberries!! Anyways, almost done! Cut the strip stack into four even squares (as seen in the left part of the above picture). Don’t worry if it’s not perfect–everything will get stuffed into a loaf pan.

Layer your dough squares into a greased loaf pan, with the squares on their sides. It should look like a long flip book! Stuff the blueberries into the cracks of squares and sprinkle some over the top.

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(I kept stuffing it with blueberries…I couldn’t help myself. My roommates had to stop me before I used the whole box…)

The loaf pan won’t be completely stuffed, but don’t worry, the bread has to go for a second rise. Cover the loaf pan and let it rise for another hour. Remove cover, and bake in a preheated 350˚F oven until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. It depends on your oven, but it took me 30-45 minutes. You can make the icing and drizzle it on top just whisk the powdered sugar and milk until smooth), but it’s totally optional. I opted out and drizzled my bread pieces with honey instead.

This bread is definitely better the day it’s made, but it’s still good the next day too. Just warm up the pieces in the microwave and drizzle with honey. So so good.

Anyways, I hope y’all try it out. And if you do, let me know in the comments below! Until next time,

Soli deo Gloria, and happy reading, eating, and baking!