Oh my goodness! Just look at this gorgeous Orange Cranberry Filled Wool Roll Bread! You’ve likely seen a loaf of this impressive bread before. It took the internet by storm earlier this year and folks were instagramming it not stop. I gotta tell you, there is a good reason for its popularity among bakers. Not only does this bread look amazing, like a wool roll in fact, but it also delivers on taste. Beneath the crispy light crust, your teeth are going to sink into the most pillowy soft, cloud like bread you have ever had the pleasure of tasting. And is completely customizable. I made this one with a delicate swirl of cream cheese and left over Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce.
But this bread works fantastically with any filling you can dream up, whether sweet or savory. Yup…you could do chocolate, Nutella, cinnamon and sugar or any flavor of jam. You might want try mozzarella and basil pesto, maybe some gruyere and herbs. Seriously – you can’t go wrong!
Today is February 1st. This particular day lies half way between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It is St. Brigid’s Day. Brigid is one of Ireland’s three patron saints along with St. Colmcille and St. Patrick. Starting this year, Ireland will be marking her Feast Day with a new permanent Bank Holiday on the first Monday in February, which is February 6th this year. Hooray! Who doesn’t like more holidays?!! According to Irish hagiography, Brigid was an early Christian nun & abbess who preformed many miracles. She also shares the name with an important Celtic goddess who is associated with the festival of Imbolc which was celebrated at this time as well, which suggests that the early church might have adopted the legends of the goddess and transformed them into the Christian persona. Interesting huh? I don’t know how many of you folks out there remembered to put a scarf out last night. You see on St. Brigid’s Eve you should always place a scarf or other piece of fabric outside.
When Brigid passes over the land that night she will bless it. You then can fetch it back inside the next day and thanks to Brigid, it has the power to protect and heal headaches, sore throats and fevers throughout the coming year! What with all the Covid still lurking around, I wasn’t going to take any chances. My little scarf was frozen solid this morning, but is happily thawing away now, freshly imbued with healing powers. As I mentioned, today marks the festival of Imbolc as well as Candlemas, both of which are associated with fertility, fire, purification and weather divination. And speaking of weather divination, tomorrow my favourite varmint, Punxsutawney Phil, will be stepping out of his burrow at Gobbler’s Knob and letting everyone know if there will be 6 more weeks of winter or if instead Spring is on the way.
I don’t know if good ole Phil will see his shadow tomorrow or not. I must admit, I’m kind of hoping he predicts more winter. We haven’t really seen a winter at all this year. We had a few days of really cold weather, but only a few. And barely a flurry at all. Certainly no snow accumulation. I love winter, so I am feeling a bit cheated. But no worries, I might have some plans to head out to a really cold destination in the future, so even if Spring is on its way here, I’ll get my snow fix regardless! So this is quite an auspicious time of year! I’m very happy to be marking another event today as well. February 1st just happens to be the 11th year anniversary of the my cooking blog! Yup… Eleven years ago today I posted my first recipe. It was for Cream Tea Scones with Currants.
I’ve managed to do an anniversary post nearly every year since. Pretty impressive considering how slack I can be! Last year I shared another Cranberry focused dish – this exquisite Cranberry Chiffon Pie!
And a couple of years ago I was all about this rich & creamy Ground Beef Chili with Chocolate & Peanut Butter. Get. out!
And the year before, I posted about these scrumptious Morning Buns!
One of my favorite recipes that I shared with you on an anniversary was: Model Bakery’s English Muffins:
Then there were those decadent Banana Rum Muffins:
That jaw-dropping, over the top Crack Pie:
And who can forget that magical “caviar of the South” – Pasture’s Pimento Cheese. Keep this one in mind for the Super Bowl!
But let me get back to today’s recipe – That magnificent Orange Cranberry Filled Wool Roll Bread.
This bread is made with a tangzhong, which you can actually prepare up to five days ahead of time. Tangzhong is an Asian yeast bread technique in which you cook a small percentage of liquid and flour. Think of it kind of like a roux. Once this mixture has cooled down, you add it to the rest of the ingredients. What will this technique do for your recipe? Well, it pre-gelatinizes the starches in the flour, meaning they can absorb more water. In fact, the flour will absorb twice as much hot water or milk as it would with the cool/lukewarm water or milk that you’d usually use in yeast dough. And the starch is able to hold onto this extra liquid all through the kneading, baking and cooling process. This not only makes the dough less sticky and easier to work with than usual yeast doughs, but the bread will also rise higher since that retained liquid is turned to internal steam during baking. Furthermore your bread will be softer as well as have a longer shelf life. I can definitely vouch that this dough is easy to work with. In order to get that roll of wool appearance you have to divide the risen dough into 4 pieces, roll them out and then cut the bottom half of each piece into little strips or fringe. I was thinking “Good Lord. This is going to be one of those fiddly endeavors that I hate.” But nope! Super easy. Wow, right?!!! But don’t take my word for it (actually you kind of should…) give this recipe a whirl!
Orange Cranberry Filled Wool Roll Bread
recipe from: customized from King Arthur Baking
For the Tangzhong (starter)
- 3 tablespoons (43 grams) water
- 3 tablespoons (43 grams) milk, whole preferred
- 2 tablespoons (14 grams) bread flour
For the Dough
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) milk, whole preferred
- 1 large egg
- 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon (9 grams) instant yeast
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (6 grams) salt
- 2 1/2 cups (300 grams) bread flour
For the Filling
- half an 8-ounce package (113 grams) cream cheese, softened*
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
- zest (grated rind) of 2 medium lemons
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons (4 grams) freeze-dried raspberries, lightly crushed
- 2 tablespoons (15 grams) bread flour
*The cream cheese should be at warm room temperature, at least 68°F.
*For the bread pictured above I simply mixed 113 grams of softened cream cheese with a pinch of salt and 3 Tablespoons of Boozy Orange Cranberry sauce and 2 tablespoons of bread flour.
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) milk, whole preferred
To make the tangzhong: Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain.
Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook the mixture, stirring regularly, until thickened, paste-like, and the spoon or spatula leaves lines on the bottom of the pan. This should take 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the strength of your burner.
Remove the tangzhong from the heat and transfer it to a large mixing bowl, the bowl of a stand mixer, or the bucket of a bread machine (whatever you plan to knead the dough in).
To make the dough: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Place the flour into the bowl with the tangzhong and add the remaining dough ingredients. Mix to combine, then knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until a soft, smooth dough forms, about 8 to 10 minutes on medium-low speed of a mixer. (The dough may be tacky and stick to the sides of the bowl slightly; that’s OK.)
Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest in a lightly greased bowl or dough rising bucket, covered, for 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk.
To make the filling: Combine the cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest, and salt, mixing until smooth.
Add the freeze-dried raspberries and flour, mixing until the berries are completely crushed and evenly distributed.
To assemble: On a lightly floured surface, gently deflate the dough, divide it into four pieces (about 170 grams each), and shape each piece into a ball.
Cover the dough and let rest for 10 minutes.
Line a 9″ springform or a 9” round cake pan (at least 2” deep) with parchment and lightly grease the parchment.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll it into a 6” x 12” rectangle. If the dough begins to snap back during rolling, set it aside and begin rolling out the second piece. Return to the first piece to continue rolling it to the full size after a couple of minutes, giving the gluten a chance to relax.
Portion 2 heaping tablespoons of filling (about 50grams) onto the top half of the rectangle. A tablespoon cookie dough scoop works well here; use two rounded scoops per piece of dough.
Position the rectangle so its 12” sides are vertical. Starting at the top, spread the filling across the entire width of the rectangle (leaving about 1/4” bare on each side) and down about 6” or 7”, leaving the bottom 5” to 6” bare. If the filling is difficult to spread, warm it in the microwave for 15 seconds and stir; check the consistency. Repeat, if necessary, until it’s an easily spreadable consistency.
Using a bench or chef’s knife or a pastry wheel, cut the uncovered dough at the bottom into very thin strips (anywhere from 1/8” to 1/4″ wide).
Fold the long edges of the rectangle in to prevent any filling from seeping out.
Starting from the filling-covered top and rolling toward the uncovered strips, roll the dough into a log about 6” long.
Lightly press the strips into the rolled log to secure. Place the log, seam-side down, into the bottom of the pan so it’s snuggled up against the pan’s outside edge.
Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, placing them into the pan to form a complete circle around the pan’s outside edge.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Cover the wool roll and let it rise for 60 to 75 minutes, until puffy.
To finish and bake the roll: Brush the roll with milk, being careful not to deflate the delicate dough.
Bake it for 28 to 32 minutes, until it’s golden brown on top; a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf should read at least 190°F.
Remove the roll from the oven and cool it in the pan until you can transfer it safely to a rack to cool completely.
Storage information: Store leftover wool roll bread, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days.
Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Orange Cranberry Filled Wool Roll Bread: