Yield: one loaf
For the Sponge:
- 5.5g Instant yeast
- 10g Granulated sugar
- 57g Whole milk
- 135g All purpose flour
For the Dough:
- 400g All purpose flour
- 57g Whole milk
- 171g Whole eggs
- 3.5g Salt
- 114g Unsalted butter, very soft
For the Almond Cream Filling:
- 75g American Almond® almond paste
- 57g Granulated sugar
- 57g Unsalted butter
- 57g Whole eggs
- 30g All-purpose flour
- 30g American Almond® sliced blanched almonds
- 30g Apricot jam/preserves
- 30g Dried apricots, chopped
- Sponge: dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm milk (be sure it’s not too hot). Add the flour in and mix until smooth. Cover the sponge and let rise in a warm place until it has doubled in volume.
- Dough: combine the remaining sugar, milk, and eggs and then add into the sponge. Using the dough hook attachment, add the remaining flour and salt in, then followed by the butter little by little. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume or approx. 1-1.5 hours.
- Filling: using the paddle attachment, break up the almond paste and add in the sugar until the mixture is crumbly and the sugar is evenly blended into the paste. Slowly add in the soft butter, followed by the eggs, and mix until thoroughly combined. Add in the flour and mix well.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F and then line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
- Roll out the dough into approx. 14”x12” rectangle and transfer to the sheet tray.
- Spread the almond cream filling in the middle of the dough lengthwise. Add some apricot jam/preserves and then some chopped dried apricots if desired.
- Make 10-12 diagonal cuts, spaced about ¾ inch apart along each edge of the dough.
- Fold over the strips in alternately to create a braided look until the filling is enclosed in the dough.
- Brush the dough with some egg wash and then sprinkle with the sliced almonds.
- Allow the dough to rise again until about 1.5x in volume, about an hour or so.
- Bake the bread until golden brown and cooked through. The internal temperature should measure between 205-210°F.
- Let the loaf cool down completely before cutting and serving.