Whole Wheat Apple Walnut Braid

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What a mouthful. But a delicious and healthy mouthful! This whole wheat apple walnut braid was born during the second half of the Broncos’ game, and everyone at my house felt grateful for the smell of a sweet and yeasty loaf when the Broncos lost (painfully) in overtime. There is nothing like a warm oven and a freshly baked loaf of bread to soothe wounded pride.

But despite the Bronco game, we had a good weekend. And it all started with that awe-inspiring fetal heartbeat. Ryan and I are lucky enough to be working with an ob/gyn that is a personal friend of the family. She has lived up the street from my parents for as long as we’ve been in Colorado, and I used to baby-sit her babies when I was in middle and high school. We had an appointment with her on Friday afternoon, and, as always, that sweet heartbeat, nearly stopped our own.

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We’re 18 weeks now, which means I’m almost half-way there, and we’ll soon be finding out if we’re having a little boy or girl. We’ve already chosen names, and we have a family dinner planned on February 1st, where we’ll get to share the news with our parents and siblings. That ultrasound will be our 6th (and hopefully our last). If our sweet baby keeps on growing like he/she is supposed to, the next time we’ll see him/her will be in the delivery room.

I’m hoping that come June, we’ll have plenty of meals and loaves of bread stored in the freezer. I know enough about new motherhood to recognize that my time in the kitchen will be rather limited at first. So I imagine the months leading up to June will be full of culinary experimentation and steady preparation.

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I’m also becoming particularly mindful of what I put into my mouth. The first few months of my pregnancy were so difficult (stomach-wise) that I subsisted on a small list of foods that I found bearable (Cinnamon Toast Crunch, frozen chicken parmesean, hard boiled eggs, and smoothies from Wheatsville). THANKFULLY, my good eating habits have returned in the second trimester, along with my appetite. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables, organic meats and eggs, and plenty of wild-caught salmon. This whole wheat apple walnut braid is sweetened only by maple syrup and packed full of nuts, fresh fruit, and spices.

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While braids look impressive, they’re actually quite easy to make, especially if your dough is cooperative. Remember, I was able to pull this off while the Broncos were losing to the Ravens. My mind and body kept on racing between the kitchen and the television room. I hope that your football team doesn’t have to lose for you to enjoy this as much as we have. It goes perfectly with your morning coffee or tea.

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Whole Wheat Apple Walnut Braid

Bread:

1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
2 TBSP melted and cooled butter
2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour
1 package instant yeast

Filling:

2-3 granny smith apples
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 TBSP maple syrup

1. To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead — by hand, mixer or bread machine — to make a soft, smooth dough (about 8 minutes with a kitchen aid mixer). Allow to rise in a slightly warm place, covered, for 1 hour.

2. Peel and dice apples. In a small bowl, combine apples, cinnamon, and maple syrup.

3. Roll Dough into a 13×9 inch rectangle. Scoop filling into the center of the rectangle, making a long log shape. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut each side of dough up to where the filling begins. You should make a total of 13-15 strips on either side of the filling. Crisscross the strips of dough over each other to make the braided top.

4. Allow to rise for another 30-4o minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle walnuts over the top of your loaf before baking in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until just lightly browned. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Best enjoyed warm.

Monet

Anecdotes and Apple Cores

36 thoughts on “Whole Wheat Apple Walnut Braid

  1. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    Look at that belly! I love it! You are the sweetest. Also, good luck with your June baby… Geminis… well, I’m married to one, so obviously I love them but, yeah… I know what you have in store.

    I’m loving this apple braid. I’m still son intimidated by bread that I don’t even think to do crazy things like braiding it, but I really should. Looks awesome!

  2. Justine

    Monet! I don’t know how I missed this news … so thrilled for you! Beautiful bread, and beautiful you! Sending love to you all. xo

  3. rita cooks italian

    A loaf that it is packed with flavours, the perfect breakfast/tea time treat. I am happy to hear that your appetite is back. The last month of pregnancy is a little bit hard because of the back pain (due to the heavy tummy)so cooking/baking will be a little bit more challenging (I used to sit down to prepare things)…..enjoy this time, I loved to be pregnant and you look WONDERFUL!

  4. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time

    First, congratulations! I don’t know how I missed this either. Your posts used to show up on facebook, then disappeared, but have suddenly reappeared, thank goodness. You are radiant. Motherhood already suits you.

    I am very sorry that the Broncos lost. I was pulling for them, but have to admit that I’m not sad to see Ray Lewis play at least one more game now.

    Your braid is beautiful and looks like it tastes amazing. Something like that would pull anyone out of junk-eating into a healthy diet! It’s gorgeous.

  5. Jessie

    Three cheers for the return of your appetite! You have such a lovely glow and cute baby bump – and Ryan’s necklace looks gorgeous, too! I’m so impressed with this whole wheat braid – even though it’s simple to make, it doesn’t look like it ;)

    Enjoy your week, Monet!

  6. susanify

    I just found your blog from a friend who posted it. I am 18 weeks and 1 day- we must have about the same estimated due date! You look radiant and your bread looks mouthwatering.

  7. Eileen

    Oh man, this bread looks so good! And it just so happens that I bought a big bag of fuji apples just the other day. :) Hearing the heartbeat sounds so amazing! I can’t even imagine.

  8. Dionne Baldwin

    You are so adorable, little miss mama! I am sorry about the Broncos. The Seahawks lost too and they had a very impressive comeback! I didn’t bake bread though so my house just smelled like candles haha. I love apples and walnuts and of course your beautiful breads. :) Thank you for sharing this with us! I hope your week is off to a great start!

  9. Julia {The Roasted Root}

    You’ve got all sorts of buns in the oven! Sorry, couldn’t resist! Congrats on the healthy, growing baby! I can only imagine how exciting it is to first hear your baby’s heart beating! Your apple walnut braid looks delicious and I bet the baby adores it too!

  10. Kim

    Monet – I am so excited for you, you are GLOWING!!!! I am also a Gemini. We’re a fun bunch, so it’s going to be a great ride. :)

    [K]

  11. Mary

    Monet, you look blissfully happy and quite beautiful. I am thrilled for you. The bread is lovely. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  12. kitchen flavours

    Hi Monet,
    You look wonderful with the glow of a happy mom-to-be!
    Your apple walnut braid looks perfectly baked, with nice textures and crust! Lovely for tea-time and a snack anytime of the day!

  13. Wendy Irene

    You look so beautiful and that dress looks stunning on you! I just love your pictures of bread. They always make me feel like putting my apron on and baking. What a great idea to make loaves of bread ahead of time and freeze them for when baby arrives. I wish I had thought of that. Have a beautiful day, Monet! xoxo

  14. cakewhiz

    you are positively glowing :)

    i have been too scared to try making a braided bread but this looks gorgeous and i always have apples in the house waiting to be used in some way or another ;)

  15. a tasteful garden

    Congratulations Monet!!!! You look absolutely gorgeous. I am so, so happy to hear that you are expecting. What a lucky baby they’ll be to have a mama that bakes such yummy treats :) Cheers, Allison

  16. Annie

    I can’t wait to find out if it’s a boy or girl and your chosen name! You are looking beautiful and the braiding on the bread is something I have always wanted to try. Looks amazing and tasty. Joyous 18 weeks!

  17. john@kitchenriffs

    Exciting news! And we’re all eager to learn if it’s a boy or girl too! May we all come to the family dinner to hear the news? ;-) Great looking bread. And you’re right – if you can do that when half-distracted by a football game, I certainly can! Good stuff – thanks, and have a wonderful 18 weeks (and beyond).

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