Braided bread is beautiful, tasty and makes a delicious toast. The simple ingredients easily go together to make a rich, slightly sweet moist bread. I kneaded the dough by hand; made this bread as per my oven size and with the remaining dough, made dinner rolls. It does take effort however, it’s worth it! Enjoyed hugely at my home and is perfect for a family dinner meal; also it looks wonderful when served on the table. The braiding technique verbatim is adapted from thebakersguide.com.
Delicious and wonderful 4 braided bread for dinners and delicious toast.
total time :2 1/2 hrs, yield : 1 big loaf, author : gloria
3 1/2 cup plain regular flour + extra 1/2 c for dusting
1/4 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp salt
7 gms active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 tbsp sugar
200 ml milk
50 gms butter (melted)
8 gm vanilla sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom powder
Pre-heat oven 190° C/375° F.
Mix 3 1/2 c flour, orange zest and salt; keep aside.
Proof yeast in lukewarm water, adding sugar for 10 minutes or until frothy in a mixing bowl.
In a small saucepan, heat milk until lukewarm over low heat; remove and add melted butter, vanilla sugar, ground cardamom powder and egg; stir to mix and add it to the yeast solution.
Using a wooden spoon, slowly and gradually, add flour mixture till everything is incorporated and knead to make a pliable dough, dusting with the extra 1/2 c flour as required.
Place it in a greased bowl; cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and allow it to rise until doubled in volume for 1 hour. Punch down; remove from the bowl.
Divide your dough into 4 equally sized pieces and pre-shape them into short rough log shapes.
On a minimally floured counter roll each piece of dough out into a long log shape with tapered ends that is about 18 inches long. Do this by starting in the centre and then moving your hands out in a rocking motion to elongate the piece of dough.
Place the pieces in front of you vertically and kind of fanned out with the ends farthest from you lightly pinched together.
Starting on you left hand side number the positions of the dough strands as 1, 2, 3, 4. The dough strands will move, but the positions on the board will remain the same.
Starting with strand 4 cross it over strand 2, then cross strand 1 over 3, followed by 2 over. Repeat as many times as needed to get to the end. Don’t be tempted to try to get too many repeats when you get to the end, otherwise you will have a lopsided loaf that is fat on one end and really narrow on the other.
Cover and let it to rise for the second time for 20 minutes.
Brush the braid with beaten egg and bake in a pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow it to cool completely before slicing, brush top with melted butter.
- my 1 cup is 250ml