Cinnamon Walnut Braid (Low Carb)


You know how people are always telling you to look at the big picture? Well, what about the small picture? Doesn’t it too deserve a little air time? Is it really so bad to focus on the details? See, this is where I am lacking, where I need a little extra work. I’ve got the big picture down, I’m always looking ahead to the final product, skipping over the nitty gritty. I don’t sweat the small stuff nearly enough and it can sometimes get me in trouble. Which proves my point, that the small stuff, the small picture, is perhaps just as important as the big one. The details often help complete the big picture. If, like me, you rush through the small stuff in your haste to get to the big picture, your final product just might suffer.

What I really like are big pictures that look like they took a lot of small stuff, but didn’t really. That’s my kind of project. Because then I can focus on the final product without feeling guilty for not sweating the details along the way. And then people compliment me and tell me what a great job I did, and I can just smile and nod and let the praise wash over me. Or I can protest and tell people how easy it all really was, and they think I am being modest or self-deprecating, and think all the more highly of me for it. Yes, those are the projects I like best.

So don’t look to me for the intricately frosted cakes or the sugar cookies with delicate designs in royal icing. I can admire these things and their creators for the patience and attention to detail, but I will never dare tackle them myself. I would likely rush through something and ruin the whole batch, or be throwing my hands up in frustration midway through the project. If you think something I have produced looks like it took a lot of steps and a lot of work…think again. It probably didn’t, I just make it look that way. I am not a detail-oriented person, I just play one on my blog.

Like this bread. I am enormously pleased with how it turned out for a number of reasons. Reason number one is that I was using yeast that had an expiration date of 2007. A detail-oriented person would have cleared that out of her pantry by 2008 at the latest! Reason number two is that I was using carbalose flour in a sweet dough and I really wasn’t sure how it would taste. Carbalose flour, a flour modified to be low carb, has been infinitely useful to me but it does have something of a sour flavour that lends itself better to savoury baked goods. Reason number three is that I was attempting braided bread, which I have never done before. I had a vision of what I wanted to create, with no real clue of how to to accomplish it. I knew what filling I wanted, and that I wanted to adapt the dough recipe from my Feta and Spinach Rolls, but I had to do a bit of research to figure out how to shape and fill the bread.

The Results: Well, thank goodness the yeast was still active, because that was the detail that could have sunk the whole project. As it was, the dough rose, and to my surprise, there wasn’t a hint of sourness to the finished bread. To say that this bread exceeded my expectations is putting it mildly, because I love it. My children love it too. On the day it was made, my son was hovering over me as I was taking photos, asking for a piece. And when he had finished the first piece, he asked for another. And another. I wouldn’t hesitate to bring this to a fine brunch. I might make the glaze a little thicker, because it disappeared into the bread and visually, I think drizzles of white glaze might make it that much prettier. But for taste and looks, I give this recipe top marks.

If you have no need of being low carb and want to make this, I direct you to the original dough recipe on A Little Bit of Everything. Halve the recipe (or double the filling) and add a few tablespoons of sugar to the dough. Replace all erythritol in my filling and glaze with sugar or icing sugar, and you will be all set!

Cinnamon Walnut Braid

2 cups carbalose flour
1/3 cup vital wheat gluten
2 tbsp granulated erythritol
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole milk, lukewarm (about 110F)
1/2 cup water, lukewarm (abut 110F)
1 package rapid rise yeast
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup granulated erythritol
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tbsp butter, melted

3 tbsp powdered erythritol
2 tsp unsweetened almond milk

For the dough, preheat oven to 200F for 10 minutes and then turn oven off.

In a medium bowl, stir together carbalose flour, gluten flour, granulated erythritol and salt. Set aside

In the bowl of your mixer, combine milk and water. Sprinkle yeast over and mix well. Mix in egg until combined.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add flour mixture until combined. Dough may be quite sticky, but do not add any more flour.

With greased hands, shape dough into a smooth ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in warm oven for 30-45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

For the filling, combine granulated erythritol and cinnamon together in a small bowl.

Divide dough into three equal pieces and roll each piece into a long skinny rectangle, about 12 inches by 4 inches. Brush each piece with 1/2 tbsp of butter and sprinkle each with a quarter of the cinnamon mixture (reserving last quarter for top of bread). Sprinkle each piece with a quarter of the walnuts. Roll up each rectangle tightly so it forms a long skinny log and pinch the seam closed.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set each strand side by side with the seam on the bottom. Bring the ends together and then begin braiding the strands together. You can tuck the ends under neatly once you have finished the braid.

Place the braided bread back in the warm oven to rise for another 20 to 30 more minutes, until doubled.

Remove from oven and raise temperature to 375F. Brush braid with remaining melted butter, and sprinkle with remaining erythritol and cinnamon. Sprinkle with remaining walnuts, pressing lightly to adhere. Once oven is heated, bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

For the glaze, whisk powdered erythritol and almond milk together until smooth. Drizzle over cooled bread. Slice and enjoy!

Serves 12. Each serving has a total of 18.8g of carbs and 5.3g of fiber, but only 9.8g of carbs if you subtract erythritol. Total net carbs per slice is 4.5g.

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  1. Katrina {In Katrina's Kitchen} says

    Mmmm. I like the big picture…and the details of this recipe! I don't have a clue about when my yeast expires because I dump it into a jar and put it in my freezer. Who knew?! lol

  2. Juanita says

    I do so love baked goods with cinnamon! It is such a rewarding spice to work with, as it's wonderful smell lingers in the kitchen while whatever it's in is in the oven baking.

  3. The Café Sucré Farine says

    Oh my, this looks too good to be true! I can only imagine the wonderful aroma as it bakes!

  4. Erin says

    I hate when details get in the way! This looks wonderful! I have learned that storing your yeast in the fridge make it last longer – just and FYI!
    Wish I had the time to make this for breakfast, right now!

  5. Lauren at Keep It Sweet says

    You are SO talented! I love that you made such an amazing looking bread even with some questionable ingredients:-)

  6. Charlie @ SweetSaltySpicy says

    Yum! This looks delicious! I love braids but haven't tried making one yet…
    I tend to love making things that look hard but are not too, but I'm also very (very very) perfectionist so I also sometimes start something I thought would be simple but isn't and spend hours making it!

  7. The Mom Chef says

    Bravo! That is an amazing loaf of bread. Wow, I could eat the whole thing in one sitting.

    Dudette definitely helps to stop me from seeing too much of the forest and to enjoy one tree at a time instead. :)

  8. Sandra says

    I love your explanation and big picture:)) Wonderful looks fantastic and very delicious!

  9. RavieNomNoms says

    Oh my word! This looks so good, I am so amazed that it is lowcarb. It looks absolutely fantastic! I could eat the entire braid myself!

  10. Parsley Sage says

    Awesome braid! I'm finally in the US where I can get my hands on some of these ingredients. Plus, I'm taking care of not one but two diabetics :) Can't wait to start working my way through your recipes!

  11. Maris (In Good taste) says

    A pot of coffee and that cake and I wouldn't need another thing! I'd be happy as can be! Have a great weekend!

  12. Veronica Gantley says

    Oh Carolyn, this looks so good. I am very glad the yeast worked out for you. There is nothing worse than trying to make bread and your yeast is dead!

  13. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says

    I *need* this bread in my life lol But I'd totally do a sub in of apples for the walnuts. Yours looks fantastic btw!!

  14. Foodness Gracious says

    I'm intrigued with the Carbalose flour? Defo need to check that out, any tips on where to buy it?

  15. Comfy Cook says

    I love cinnamon so I am pretty sure, I would love this cake. My hubby would also love walnuts and cinnamon. Sounds like a winner.

  16. Foodness Gracious says

    Hey Carolyn, my daughter is type 1 diabetic so I appreciate your low carb postings. I have used erythritol before and I really liked it better than stevia or splenda…
    Take care!

  17. The Harried Cook says

    Sounds like a fabulous recipe! Love the flavors. Cinnamon & walnut are very popular in our home! This would be such a hit here… Thanks for sharing :)

  18. Kari says

    I am definitely a detail person – big picture focus often eludes me. With that said, I have no trouble recognising how great this bread looks. Wonderful!

  19. ~Oct says

    This looks so good! And because you have convinced me that it isn't difficult I am attempting to make it this morning. I'll let you know how it turns out. Thanks Carolyn.

  20. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels says

    I love anything with walnuts and cinnamon but I especially love them if it's in bread! This bread is just gorgeous. I'm always amazed at the delicious looking low carb treats you come up with. :)

  21. Kate@Diethood says

    Carolyn, I looooove your photos!! Now, where's my coffee… that is all I will need to eat up that beauty!

  22. Roxana GreenGirl says

    Yee for your first braided bread. Looks so professional.
    Love your sweet twist with the cinnamon and walnuts, I have to try this one soon.

    Thanks for the mention, you're so sweet.

  23. Terra says

    Just beautiful! I have never had carbalose flour. Honestly, I have never heard of it either. Love the way the bread turned out, looks like a perfect treat for anytime of the day:-)
    Hugs, Terra

  24. Cake Duchess says

    How do you make these healthy recipes look so good! I sometimes skip little details and have also baked with an expired yeast. Mine wasn't active like yours was;)This looks fantatic! I took a peak of your photo below of you running…girl, your arms are out of control buff! you look fantastic;)

  25. spcookiequeen says

    I like your picture you've painted here! Beautiful braid and I'm sure the flavor was fabulous. I say if the kids like it, it's a winner!

  26. Purabi Naha says

    This braid is wonderful! But, where do we get erythritol from? I haven't see this in Hong Kong supermarkets. Can I substitute with something else? Looks yummy!

  27. Adora's Box says

    Carolyn, I know what you mean when you talk about the big picture and the small picture. Never mind. The pictures you've shown here are so perfect. Lovely, braided bread.

  28. sara @ CaffeIna says

    When it comes to baking, I look at the big picture too. Maybe it's because I am really not good at decorating and making the details perfect hehe. But this braid seems perfect for me both at big and small picture.
    Congratulations on the top 9!!!

  29. Lisa says

    Is Carbquik the same as carbalose flour? I was going to purchase to make THIS recipe! :)
    I just wanted to make sure. Thank you again for your wonderful recipes..

  30. Carolyn says

    Hi Lisa,
    I hope you see this, because I can't seem to comment on your blog. Tried the other day on your coconut mini-muffins, but Blogger is weird these days and isn't allowing me to log in to comment, and your blog doesn't allow for anonymous commenters.
    Carbalose and carbquick are not the same and are definitely not interchangeable. Carbquick is like a low carb version of Bisquick and has leaveners such as baking powder in it already, along with some added shortening. Carbalose is just the basic flour. They are made by the same company, and I think carbalose is the flour base behind carbquick. You don't want to use carbquick in this because of the added ingredients.
    I buy carbalose at

  31. Lisa says

    Thanks Carolyn! I changed the settings on mine (still new at this!) to allow anyone to post.

    And thank you for info on Carbolose vs. Carbquik – I could not really get an answer from their site. I live near Netrition and am ready to place an order to be picked up!

  32. Elle says

    Wow, I'm glad that you took the chances you did when making this bread–it totally paid off! How beautiful. I can almost taste it!

  33. Nami @ Just One Cookbook says

    Hi Carolyn! Your braid looks beautiful and delicious! I tend to worry and focus on details and forget about big picture. I feel I would be so much happier thinking of big pictures instead of caring small things that people may not care about. Enjoyed your little story all the time and got me thinking!

  34. Cookin' Canuck says

    There's something to be said for looking at the big picture when it results in a bread like this.

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