In our home, a braided almond wreath is a seasonal tradition. The original was a 2 day, fussy and very buttery pastry with melt in your mouth results. This adaption allows for a more healthful, quicker pastry that still produces stunning results that anyone can do. Your friends and family will love it.
This Instructable is mostly by earthelements
(listed as a collaborator).
Step 1: Ingredients
French bread dough ingredients (use your favorite recipe)
Decorative toppings - sliced almonds, craisins or marichino cherries, bow.
Step 2: Make Dough
We use the recipe and settings for french bread dough in our bread machine.
Step 3: Roll Out
Retrieve the dough and roll out on a floured surface or pastry cloth with a rolling pin. Optimal size is 9" wide by 30" long rectangle. You may have to let the dough rest during the process for a few minutes to aid in stretching it to this size.
Step 4: Cut Into Strips
Cut the dough into 3rds the long way. These are your braiding strips.
Step 5: Spread Almond Filling
Spread a line of almond filling into the center and down the length of each strip.
Step 6: Pinch Closed
Pinch the dough edges together to seal in the almond filling.
Step 7: Braid
Stretch each strip length wise and pinch the three strips together at the top. Leaving the seam side up, braid the three strips, keeping a bit of stretch on them. Pinch the ends together as you did for the top.
Step 8: Shape
Now you can pick up your braided strands like a rope and move to a baking sheet. Stretch and curve into a circle, keeping the seam sides up. Pinch the bottom to the top edge to form the completed wreath.
Step 9: Rise
Let the dough wreath rise for an hour in a warm spot, 70 degrees or so. I warm my oven for 2 minutes, then turn it off and put the dough in to rise out of the draft.
Step 10: Bake
Remove your dough from the warm oven, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 23-25 minutes, until your bread wreath is golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped. Some of the seams may have opened during cooking and drizzled out, revealing the tasty filling. Cool to room temperature.
Step 11: Decorate
Transfer wreath to a decorative plate or bread board. Decorate in the niches with almonds, craisins or cut marichino cherries to add color. Add a decorative bow at the joining point.
Step 12: Enjoy!
The finished product ! You may have to be the first to slice into it at the party since no one wants to deconstruct it.