Serves Makes 1 loaf
½ cup (125 ml) water
3 cups (750 ml) all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup (250 ml) homogenized milk
¼ cup (60 ml) granulated sugar
¼ cup (60 ml) unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp (5 ml) salt, divided
2 ¼ tsp (11 ml) instant yeast
2 tbsp (30 ml) ground cinnamon
1 cup (250 ml) demerara or brown sugar
1 cup (250 ml) butter, softened
1 cup (250 ml) Malbec
1 cup (250 ml) granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1 whole star anise
1 lb (500 g) red or blush plums, pitted and cut into quarters
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch black pepper


  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together ½ cup (125 ml) water and 3 tbsp (45 ml) flour until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, and cook until mixture thickens into a slurry, about 5 to 8 minutes. Allow to cool.
  2. In bowl of stand mixer, combine milk, granulated sugar, butter, ½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt and yeast. Stir until yeast has dissolved. Add remaining flour and slurry, then mix with a dough hook until smooth and elastic, about 3 to 5 minutes. You can also do this by hand, though it will be more work, due to the slurry. If making by hand, knead for about 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer dough to a clean bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 hours, depending on temperature of room.
  4. To make cinnamon filling, mix remaining ½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt, cinnamon, demerara sugar and butter until thoroughly combined. Keep aside at room temperature until ready to use.
  5. Once dough has risen, roll out to a rectangle about ¼-in (0.5 cm) thick.
  6. Spread butter mixture over entire piece of dough. Tightly roll into a long log. Place log on a baking sheet and place in refrigerator or freezer for 5 to 10 minutes, to slightly chill dough and make it easier to handle.
  7. Meanwhile, grease a loaf pan (the 5 x 9-in (12 x 23 cm) size works well) and line with parchment paper.
  8. Remove log from refrigerator or freezer and lay on a cutting board. Cut almost completely in half lengthwise, but leaving 1 end uncut. Starting from uncut end, braid dough and pinch ends together. Place braid into prepared loaf pan, tucking ends underneath, if necessary. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
  9. Once dough has risen, bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until loaf has reached an internal temperature of 190 F (88 C). Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, remove from pan to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving with Mulled Wine Plum Jam. It is also nice toasted!
  10. MULLED WINE PLUM JAM: 1. In a medium saucepan, cook Malbec and sugar over medium heat until it reaches consistency of maple syrup. Tie cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise together in a piece of cheesecloth and add to saucepan. Add remaining ingredients and continue cooking until liquid coats back of a spoon. Remove cheesecloth with spices. 2. Allow mixture to cool, then transfer to a glass jar. Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 3 months. Makes 1 cup (250 ml)
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