Sourdough Discard Cranberry Orange Couronne
(By Hannah Dela Cruz, blogger and cookbook author)
Couronne (crown in French) is a crown-shaped loaf that’s traditionally served during the holidays. This gorgeous loaf is made with a rich brioche dough that can be filled with anything from jam to cinnamon sugar. We chose to fill our version with a classic holiday flavor combination, cranberry and orange.
To make this show-stopping loaf, the dough is split, twisted and coiled to form a wreath before being baked. This orange-vanilla glaze is optional but will make your Couronne feel truly special and take center stage on your holiday table.
Baking with sourdough discard
Using sourdough discard in combination with yeast speeds up this bake so you can have it ready in a matter of hours instead of 2 days. Sourdough discard also imparts a tangy and nuanced flavor to the bread.
You can use your unfed sourdough starter and add it directly to this bake without activating it. Although this recipe was developed using instant yeast, you can use any type of commercial yeast, just be sure to check that it’s not past its expiration date. If you use active dry yeast, make sure you allow it to bloom in warm water to guarantee that it’s viable.
Flour and ingredient selection
Adding cornstarch reduces gluten development while maintaining enough structure in the dough to create bread with a soft and pillowy texture. Simply substitute more all-purpose flour for the cornstarch if you don’t have any on hand.
Importance of temperature
Enrichments like eggs, milk and butter can drastically slow down the activity of yeast. The Folding Proofer helps maintain a steady, consistent temperature for fermentation to occur at an optimal level (78 F / 26 C), so you can rely on your dough to double predictably.
Cranberry Orange Couronne Recipe
Yield: 1 Couronne
Timing: Active: 1 hour 20 minutes; Inactive: 2 hours; Total: 3 hours 20 minutes
|Fresh or frozen cranberries
|Orange juice or water
|Orange juice or milk
Mix your dough: Whisk together the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, orange zest and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, sourdough discard, egg, brown sugar and instant yeast. Whisk until the sourdough discard is fully incorporated and no traces of egg remain. Using a dough whisk, stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture until the flour is fully hydrated.
Knead the butter into the dough one tablespoon at a time, waiting to incorporate each addition until the butter is completely integrated into the dough. Your dough will feel oily after each addition and will feel smooth and only slightly tacky once the butter is fully incorporated.
Gather the dough into a tight ball and place your bowl inside the Folding Proofer set to 78 F / 26 C with water in the humidity tray. Allow your dough to rest and the flour to fully hydrate for 15 minutes.
Create strength and elasticity: Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead it using the palm of your hands until it looks smooth, feels elastic and only slightly tacky, about 5 to 10 minutes.
First rise: Place your dough into a clean, lightly oiled bowl and return it to the Folding Proofer. Allow your dough to rise untouched for 45 minutes or until your dough appears bubbly and has doubled in volume.
Make the filling: While your dough is rising, combine the cranberries, orange juice and granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook the mixture until the cranberries have completely broken down, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in butter. Transfer the mixture into a heat proof bowl and allow it to cool completely before adding it to your dough.
Shape the dough: Turn your dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Flatten the dough in and roll it out into a roughly 20 by 10 inch rectangle using a rolling pin. Spread the cranberry filling evenly over the dough leaving a 1-inch border. Starting with the longer side, roll the dough up tightly and pinch the seam to seal it completely. Place the log on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes (this will make your dough easier to handle and shaping less messy).
Cut the dough in half lengthwise. Exposing the cut side of the dough, place one half over the other to form an “X.” Twist the two strands of dough together. Place the dough back on the baking sheet. Join the two ends together to form a circle.
Second rise: Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise untouched for 30 to 45 minutes or until the dough looks puffy.
Overnight option: Place your shaped Couronne covered with plastic wrap inside the refrigerator for up to 16 hours. Make sure your dough is completely covered to prevent it from forming a skin as it rises. When you’re ready to bake, take your dough out of the refrigerator as your oven preheats.
Bake: Preheat oven to 375 F / 190 C. When the oven is heated, whisk together the egg and salt. Gently brush the egg wash over the dough. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 15 minutes to ensure even browning. Move your baked Couronne to a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before topping with glaze.
Make the glaze: While your Couronne cools, make the glaze. Whisk the powdered sugar to eliminate any clumps. Add the vanilla and the orange juice, then whisk thoroughly to create a smooth glaze.
Top your Couronne: Once the Couronne has cooled completely, drizzle the glaze over your loaf.
Enjoy and store: This bread is best enjoyed freshly baked. Store any leftover in an airtight container at a cool temperature for up to 2 days.