As a teenager, Susan Simpson would sidle up next to her Oma, her German grandmother, at her kitchen counter and transcribe the handfuls of flour and splashes of milk into a written recipe for delicious and artfully braided loaves. Simpson, who lives in Harrington, Delaware, developed her variation of “Oma’s Bavarian Twist” as her entry for the 2021 Virtual National Festival of Breads — Apricot-Raisin Babka Ring. The recipe’s neat and beautiful shape and soft, moist texture earned her a spot in the June 9 event as the winner of the Sweet Bread/Rolls category of the Adult Division. 

“I have modified and adapted her recipe numerous times over almost five decades,” Simpson said. “I feel certain that Oma if she were alive today, would be very proud of this fruit-filled variation of her ‘Bavarian Twist’.”

Simpson’s recipe is called a ring because dough ropes are twisted and braided together and then placed in a nine-inch tube pan to create and hold its beautiful shape. In addition to using high-quality KING ARTHUR® All-Purpose Flour and RED STAR® Quick-Rise Yeast, the ring is filled with made-from-scratch apricot and raising fillings topped with a neatly applied glaze. 

Using the same cooking method in the recipe, Simpson said bakers can also experiment with using their favorite fruit fillings. She’s tested out figs, dates, golden raisins and cranberries, just to name a few. This encouragement comes from another lesson she learned from Oma — celebrate the spirit of baking and giving. 

“I strongly believe that if you love to do something, you should do it for others and reap the joy that comes from making someone else happy,” she said.