It was an all-day endeavor, and there were tears shed. Literally. Actual tears.
The healthy makeover!
For the filling:
- 3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices.
- 3 Tablespoons Xylitol
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp lemon juice
For the 100% whole wheat bread, from Heavenly Homemakers--This makes two loaves, so either half the recipe or make one loaf of bread in addition to the apple braid.
- 6 cups (give or take) whole wheat flour, divided
- 1 ¾ cups warm water, divided
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 Tablespoons melted butter
For the drizzle:
- 1 tbsp Agave Nectar
- tiny dash imitation vanilla
Yep, there's no actual sugar in this recipe!
Begin the bread first, following Heavenly Homemakers' recipe through the first rise. In the last 15 minutes of the first rise, make the filling by combining the filling ingredients in a bowl.
After the first rise is finished, preheat the oven to 350. Roll out half this amount of dough and cut the outer thirds in ribbons (being careful to keep them even because you don't want to end up with too many ribbons on either side).
Remember that whole wheat dough is that it generally doesn't have as much stretch as white bread dough, so the ribbons might need to be extra long to fit over the filling.
Lay the filling down the middle of the bread and overlap the ribbons to form the braid, pinching the dough in place. Since my dough was less elastic than the last time I made it, I actually just pinched them together in the middle. I tried to give this a chance for a second rise . . . didn't happen. It also didn't happen for the other loaf of bread I made from this dough. I'm VERY frustrated, after grinding my own freaking wheat, using yeast I just opened last month, spending four hours making the dough and six MORE hours trying to get it to rise the second time. . . .
Bake the apple braid at 350 F for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Combine the drizzle ingredients, warm slightly and drizzle over the cooling braid. Cut into 10 slices.
So, how did the healthy makeover go?
As you can see, the analysis by CalorieCount.com shows there's almost no difference between the before and after in raw nutrition data. Calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium--it's all very close. However, the reduced sugars and especially the whole grains earned the after version a nutrition grade of B+, as opposed to C+, making this a dessert you don't have to feel too guilty about.
And most importantly, how did it taste?
I HAVE NO IDEA.
Again, I'm super frustrated about this. I brought this to my friend's house, and my friends had pieces (and seemed to like them), but I was too full to eat any. So I brought it home and put it in the kitchen.
The same room as a bunch of bananas a neighbor gave us that afternoon.
The bananas were infested with fruit flies which took over my apple braid which I seriously spent six and a half hours making.
So, if you try this, let me know how it tastes! I don't think I have six and a half hours to go through all this grief again any time soon.