Store-bought pastries are fine for breakfast when time is tight. But for a weekend brunch or special occasion, nothing beats a warm-from-the-oven coffee cake.
Making these sweet breads from scratch can be a long and involved process. With the traditional yeast mixing method, active dry yeast is first dissolved in warm water or other liquids (110° - 115°F). Then the remaining ingredients are added as the recipe directs. Generally the dough rises twice before baking (once after kneading and once after shaping).
With the advent of quick-rise or rapid-rise yeast, making yeast bread is easier than ever. This finely granulated instant yeast has two time-saving advantages. It does not need to be dissolved in water first, and it requires only one rise (after shaping).
To prepare the dough, the undissolved yeast is combined with some of the flour in the recipe and other dry ingredients in a bowl. Because the yeast is coated with the dry ingredients, the liquid is added at a warmer temperature (120° - 130°F). Then the remaining ingredients are stirred into the yeast mixture.
In place of the first rise, the dough is allowed to rest on a floured surface for 10 minutes before shaping. Generally, this cuts the rise time required by about one-third.
To take advantage of this time-saving ingredient, the tantalizing treats featured here rely on a sweet dough prepared with quick-rise yeast. With each bite, you'll know they're worth the bit of extra effort.
Tips for Sweet Success
When preparing breakfast breads made with yeast dough, keep these guidelines in mind.
- Yeast should be used before the expiration date on the package. Unopened packages or jars of yeast should be stored in a cool, dry place. Once opened, they should be refrigerated.
- If the yeast is dissolved in a liquid, it is important that the temperature of the liquid be 110° to 115°F. If the liquid is added to the yeast and dry ingredients, it is important that the temperature be 120° to 130°F.
- 1 pound loaves of frozen white or sweet dough, thawed, may be substituted for 1 recipe of Basic Sweet Dough. However, a basic white dough will produce a bread that is slightly less sweet, so an icing or glaze may be desired.
- Dough should not be stretched larger than the recipe states or it may become too thin and rip, causing the filling to leak out.
- For a decorative edge on the strips of braided breads, use a pastry wheel to cut each strip.
- Cool yeast breads completely before placing in an airtight container or plastic bag. Breads with cream cheese filling should be refrigerated. Those without can be stored in a cool, dry place for 2 to 3 days.
- To freeze yeast breads, place cooled unfrosted bread in an airtight container or bag, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature, then frost or glaze as desired.
For additional coffee cake recipes, visit the Taste of Home Recipe Finder.