Shaped like a wreath, this loaf, made with both yeast bread and cut-in methods, makes a stunning holiday presentation.
INGREDIENTS | YIELDS 1 LARGE LOAF
- 8–10 ¾ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1¾ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon plus 1 pinch kosher salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
- 2 eggs
- 1½ cups pecans, toasted and chopped
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon water
Combine milk, sugar, and yeast. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl sift together all-purpose flour and ½ teaspoon salt. Cut in ½ cup (1 stick) cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make a well in the center, add 1 egg and yeast mixture, and stir until the dough just comes together. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator to rise overnight (8–12 hours).
Beat pecans, brown sugar, and room temperature butter into a paste-like filling. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Remove the risen dough from the refrigerator.
Working on a floured surface, roll dough into a long rectangle, approximately 9″ × 30", and about ½″ thick. Spread pecan mixture down the center, then fold over the side edges to conceal the filling, overlapping the edges a bit and pinching to seal.
Transfer to prepared pan, seam-side down, and form into a circle, connecting the two open ends. Cover loosely with plastic and rise 30 minutes.
Whisk together 1 egg, 1 pinch salt, and 1 tablespoon water. Brush gently onto the top of risen loaf. Bake until golden brown and hollow sounding, about 45–60 minutes. Cool completely on a rack before serving.
In Denmark, the kringle is a sweet or salty knotted bread, like a pretzel, available at bakeries all year long. In the United States, Danish-American communities have helped evolve the kringle into a sweet loaf stuffed with nuts or fruit that makes a special appearance during the Christmas season. Kringles can be filled with a variety of fruits or nuts, but pecan is the most popular in America.