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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Braided bread..


Yes, the bread addiction continues. I feel once you are in this bread making phase, it's difficult to pull yourself out of it. Presently I'm a conscious bread baking addict. I know it because I'm spending most of the time reading about the science behind bread making, all the fictions and mystery books are all swept aside and that's something odd.  It is even odd that rather than the jewelry or dress section, I find myself  walking  around  the bake ware section in stores, I'm sure it pleases the man in the house though. But the best part of this addiction is getting praise from your near and dear ones.

Once you are addicted what else you can do, but bake few more breads. This time it was a braided bread . Braided bread or Challah is a traditional Jewish bread eaten on Sabbath or holidays. I found a simple and easy to follow recipe from thelittlewhitekitchen.com. I modified a little bit, I used butter and milk to make the loaf richer. The steps are very simple and easy, though baking bread at home does not sounds easy, but believe me it is as easier than making a perfect chicken curry.


Things needed to make braided bread:

(Recipe adapted from thelittlewhitekitchen.com)

  • Yeast(active dry yeast): 1 tbsp
  • Warm water: 1/4 cup
  • Sugar: 1 tsp

For the dough:
  • Bread flour: 3-3.5 cups
  • Warm milk: 1 cup
  • Sugar: 4 tbsp
  • Salt: 1 tsp
  • Egg: 1
  • Butter(melted): 2 tbsp
  • Oil to grease
  • Extra flour to dust
  • Sesame seeds


For the egg wash:
  • Egg: 1
  • Water: 1 tbsp


Steps of making braided bread:


1. In a deep bowl take warm water, yeast and sugar (1 tsp), mix well and cover, wait for 10 min till the yeast proofs.

2. Add warm milk, egg (beaten), sugar, salt, butter to the proofed yeast, gently mix. Gradually add flour (1 cup at a time) and keep mixing. If you are using a stand mixer, then use the hook attachment. I did use a spatula, as I was working with my hand. Do not add all the flour at a time.

3. Lightly flour the working surface, drop the dough, and knead. Stretch it away from you, fold, rotate 90 degree and repeat, till the dough becomes pliable (about 10-12 min). Keep dusting the work surface with flour. 

4. Grease a large bowl, keep the dough in the bowl, cover and let it rise for 1.5-2 hrs, until double in size.


5. Punch down the dough. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Roll each piece into 18 inch long ropes. Lay the ropes on floured working surface and pinch one end together and braid, pinch the other end. Place the dough on a greased baking tray. Cover the dough with hand towel. Let the dough rise again for 30 min.





6. Pre-heat oven to 400F/200C. After 30 min, brush the dough with egg wash, sprinkle sesame seeds. I used white sesame seeds, you can use black poppy seeds or black sesame, anything of your choice.


7. Put the dough in the oven on the middle rack and back for 25-30 min. 



8. Take out and let it cool down on a wire rack. Slice and enjoy with butter and jam. This is also good for french toast.






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2 comments:

  1. I am new to baking. On my daughter's insistence I plan to buy a OTG this weekend. In short, I am a new new newbie. Can you please let me know what is a bread flour ? Maida ? Wheat ? or either ?

    Bhagyashree

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    Replies
    1. Bhagyashree, Bread flour is specially made for making bread that has high level of gluten content. Gluten is a protein that makes the bread more elastic, helps to rise the bread as well as gives the texture to the bread. If you do not manage to find bread flour use plain flour or maida(as we say in India). If you are using whole wheat flour(atta as we say in India) then you need bread enhancer to develop a perfect dough. To begin I will suggest go for 'maida', once you will understand the proofing, nature of yeast and more about the dough try your hand on whole wheat flour. Hopefully I have clarified your question, if you need know anything else let me know.

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