Braided Hazelnut Bread

I continue on my “master the yeast” path.

Since cooking has taken a HUGE backseat to other things happening in my life, my “Recipe to try” folder in my computer is bursting at the seams with tons of recipes waiting for me to make. And what better way to start the New Year than with a yeast bread recipe?

This is one of them.  I first saw it back in May (see how long ago!) in the Fisher & Paykel site “Our Kitchen” which is run as collaboration between friends that work for the company.  If you have not discovered this site, go now and put it on your reader list.  The photos are gorgeous and the recipes are truly one of a kind.  

Just like this Braided Hazelnut Bread.

The recipe got my attention because of the hazelnuts (love them!) then it lost my attention because it has apples in it - and if you have been reading me for a while, you know how I feel about cooked fruit in anything sweet.  But, I figured that Tom would love it and it has been a while since I have cooked anything specifically to his likings.

But, once I took it out of the oven, the smell was just too good to pass up having a quick taste.

I’m officially converted!

Once word folks – AMA_ZING!

This one will be that recipe that you will keep and pass along to friends, family, co-workers and anyone that you want to impress.  I think it may have even topped my all-time sweet bread favorite - the Lemon Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake

The sweet dough is super simple to make; mix it all together and let it rest and you are pretty much done.  And the rolling is just a dream; super smooth, no tearing, bubbles… for a moment I just sat there speechless looking down at the perfectly rolled dough - I wanted to hold the moment close to my heart.

The hazelnut mix is another quick easy mix.  You may cringe at the price of hazelnuts in your part of the world – I know I did when I picked the one pound container at my local Whole Foods Market, but after the first warm bite, you forget what you paid for them.  If you are still on the fence about spending money on such a expensive nut, I’m positive this would work well with almonds, walnuts, and even pecans.

It’s perfect for afternoon tea, or a sweet ending bite after a winter feast.

The only variations that I made to the original was heating the milk before I incorporated it with the other ingredients, this way the sugar and salt dissolved in the warm liquid, giving the yeast the perfect setting to do its thing.

from Our Kitchen 

Sweet Doug 

  • 150ml milk (warm)
  • 2 teaspoon yeast
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 50 grams butter
  • 250 grams flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt 

Hazelnut filling

  • 150 grams hazelnut
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 apple, peeled and thickly grated
  • Finely grated zest of half a lemon
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Approximately 3 tablespoon cream
  • 3 tablespoon apricot jam 


  • 100grams icing sugar
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water 

Sweet Dough

Mix all ingredients in a mixer until the dough is soft and smooth.

Set aside in a warm place (I warmed my oven up on the low broiler setting, turned it off and this created the perfect warm place for my dough to rise) and let the dough rise until it has doubled in volume. Cover with cling film to prevent the dough drying out. This should take approximately two hours.

Hazelnut mix

Finely grind ¾ of the hazelnuts, leaving the last ¼ more coarsely ground to add some texture to the bread.

Fold in sugar, grated apple, lemon zest and juice. Add just enough cream so that the mixture is moist but not wet.

Putting it all together

Preheat oven to 425°F on Bake

Roll out the dough to 3mm thick in a short rectangular shape, 30x40cm.

Using your fingers spread the jam over the dough, stopping about 2cm from each edge. Be careful not to stretch the dough as you do this.

Spread the hazelnut mix on top of jam.

Roll up the dough from the longest edge.

Place the rolled dough on a lightly floured baking tray with the open edge on the top.

Cut lengthways along the center of the roll starting 3 inches from one end. Ensure it is cut right through.

Turn the cut lengths of dough so the layers of filling are exposed. Tuck the top under slightly and start braiding, making sure the exposed layers of filling continue to face the top. Tuck the ends under.

Place ¾ the way down in a preheated oven and bake for between 25-30min. When cooked the bread should be golden brown and the filling caramelized and not too wet.

Mix together all icing ingredients and ice the bread as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Enjoy warm or cold. 

Now watch it disappear before your eyes.

Tips: The dough is very soft, so you will have a bit of a struggle when braiding it, I did and I’m not sure why - not that this changed the end results at all.  The bread was airy and just with enough sweetness to carry the filling, which was crunchy and full of flavor.