This month the Babes are baking a celebratory bread, thanks to Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen. She chose Ciambella Mandorlata, a fragrant, braided wreath, served during holiday seasons. I used a different source for my recipe. Turns out it is included in Bread for All Seasons by Beth Hensperger (page 131), which I have in my cookbook library. The bread itself has hints of lemon and almond flavors, while the topping is a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, and almonds. Just for fun, I used almond meal instead of large pieces of almond, and it worked out quite well.
First rise: I think it doubled in size.
Second rise: I had to remember how to braid! Plus, the strands were 30 inches long, which created a challenge for where to roll out the dough and braid it, not to mention moving it to the baking sheet. The center hole was certainly large enough, so I didn’t have to be concerned about keeping it open.
Finished bread. It turned out just fine. The crumb was good, the taste was good.
All in all, an easy bread to make with delicious results.
Visit the websites of the other Babes to see all the beautiful braided loaves. Stop by Aparna's blog to get the recipe. If you decide to bake one yourself, send the story and photos to Aparna by April 28th to be included in the roundup.