Instructions

  1. To make the dough: Place all of the dough ingredients in a large bowl in the order listed. Mix everything together, then knead to make a soft, shiny, elastic dough. This should take 8 to 10 minutes by hand, or 6 to 8 minutes using a stand mixer with dough hook set at low speed.

  2. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let it rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  3. To make the filling: In a small bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Set aside.

  4. Combine the dried cranberries and brandy (or orange juice) in a separate bowl and set aside to soak.

  5. To fill and shape the bread: Gently deflate the dough, place it on a lightly greased work surface, and roll it into a 14" x 26" rectangle. Spread the butter mixture over the dough, leaving 1" of one long edge uncovered. Spread the soaked cranberries, orange peel, and chopped almonds evenly over the butter, then sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons flour.

  6. Starting with a long side, roll the dough to the uncovered edge; pinch the seam to seal.

  7. Slice the log of dough in half lengthwise and place each half side by side, cut sides up. Carefully twist (braid) the two logs together, keeping the cut sides up.

  8. Form the braid into a ring and pinch the ends together to seal. Place the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

  9. Cover the loaf and let it rise until puffy, about 45 minutes. Toward the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

  10. Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned at the edges and the center reads 190°F when measured with a digital thermometer. Remove the bread from the oven and cool for 30 minutes before glazing.

  11. To make the glaze: Combine all the ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled bread.

  12. Store the bread, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to three days; freeze for longer storage.