1) To make the filling: Melt the butter in a saucepan set over medium heat.
2) Combine the sugar and ClearJel, and add to the saucepan along with the remaining ingredients.
3) Cook for 5 minutes and set aside to cool.
4) To make the dough: Whisk together the butter, milk, water, eggs, and vanilla extract.
5) Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast, then add the wet ingredients. Mix and knead, adding more flour or water if necessary to make a smooth, soft dough.
6) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
7) Grease a 12" x 4" x 2 1/2" tea loaf pan or a 9" x 5" loaf pan.
8) Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly greased surface. Roll the dough into a 12" x 20" rectangle.
9) Spread the filling mixture all over the surface.
10) Cut the dough crosswise into six 3 1/2" x 12" strips. Stack the strips on top of one another.
11) Cut the stack into six pieces, about 2" x 3 1/2" each.
12) Turn the pieces on edge, and place them in the loaf pan one in front of the other from one end of the pan to the other, squeezing them in tight.
13) Cover the pan and allow the loaf to rise for 30 to 60 minutes, until it's almost doubled in size. While the loaf is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
14) Bake the loaf for 45 to 55 minutes in the center of the oven, tenting it with foil after 30 minutes. Remove the loaf from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool for 15 to 20 minutes before turning it out of the pan to cool completely.
Yield: 1 loaf, about 12 to 15 servings.
Hi there- I do think you would probably be fine to freeze these loaves once baked. You could double-wrap them shortly after they are cooled and then place them in the freezer. You would then thaw them in the fridge overnight the day before you would like to enjoy them and then refresh them in the oven at the original temperature before gifting if you like for a thorough reheating. Happy baking! Jocelyn@KAF