Easter wreath
 
 
A large 12-14-inch decorative wreath that is not traditional. The flavor is that of traditional British-South African hot cross buns.
Author:
Recipe type: Spiced, fruity bread
Serves: 10-12
Ingredients
  • 4 cups (+ approximately ½ cup) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 ¼-ounce sachets instant active dry yeast or 4 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1½ cups mixed dried fruit, e.g., seedless raisins, golden raisins, cranberries, cherries
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) butter
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
Glaze
  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • oil to grease bowl and hands
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 4 cups of flour with the yeast, sugar, salt, spices and the fruit.
  2. Scald the buttermilk with the butter and stir until the butter melts.
  3. Whisk the eggs in a large jug or bowl and slowly add the buttermilk-butter.
  4. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix to form a moist dough. If necessary, add a little more flour.
  5. Sprinkle flour onto the counter top and knead the dough until it becomes elastic and shiny. A little oil on your hands will make the dough easier to manipulate.
  6. Lightly oil the mixing bowl, shape the dough into a round, and place it in the bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for 40-50 minutes, until the dough has doubled in size.
  7. On the lightly floured counter top, knock the dough down and shape it into an 18-inch rope.
  8. Place this on a large, lined baking sheet (approximately 18x23 inches). Shape it into a round or oval, and join the two ends.
  9. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, make diagonal cuts into the wreath from the base, at approximately 2-inch intervals.
  10. Set aside in a warm place to double in size – 20-30 minutes.
  11. Bake at 350˚F for 30-40 minutes until done. The loaf will be lightly browned and will sound hollow when tapped.
  12. While the wreath is baking, prepare the glaze. Combine the 4 ingredients and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Once boiling, turn the setting to simmer and leave for about 5 minutes until the glaze thickens slightly.
  13. Place the wreath on a cooling rack when it is taken from the oven and paint it with the hot glaze.
  14. Serve warm with butter.
Notes
Instead of one large wreath, the dough can be divided to make two smaller wreaths, following the general method below. The baking time would be 5-10 minutes less.

If active dry yeast is used instead of the instant active dry yeast, dissolve 1 teaspoon of the sugar in ½ cup of the buttermilk, slightly warmed. Stir in 2 ¼-ounce sachets of active dry yeast or 4 teaspoons of active dry yeast and set aside for 10–15 minutes to froth. Add to the dry ingredients, together with the 1 cup of buttermilk, butter and eggs.

A table model food mixer with a dough hook is ideal for kneading yeast products.

This wreath freezes well and can be reheated in the oven or microwave.
Recipe by Cape Point Press at https://capepointpress.com/easter-wreath/