Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Herb Encrusted Braided Bread


Saw this recipe on foodgawker and had to try it out.  I am such a lover of bread...sigh...the recipe I came across did not top it with herbs, but since I am also a spice lover, I topped it with a bunch, oh and some garlic.  All of that is optional, but boy did it make the house smell wonderful!  I would make it again just for that lovely aroma.

Apparently everyone else liked it as well cause it is early the next morning and sadly to say...it is all gone!  Guess I will just have to make some more!  This is excellent as sandwich bread, which I made some yummy cranberry chicken spread to go with it.  My daughter hates cranberries so I was surprised that she loved that!  Even wanted more!  It is also great as toast.  I had some this morning with jalapeno jelly, would have been wonderful with cream cheese and jalapeno jelly, but alas, I have none.  But maybe that is a good thing cause I am trying to lose weight!

This bread is a two day process, but well worth the weight I mean wait...

Sponge:

1 cup cool water, about 65°F
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

Dough:

1/2 cup cool water, about 65°F
2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water

1. The Sponge: Combine all of the sponge ingredients, mixing just till a cohesive dough forms. Allow it to rest, covered, for 12 to 16 hours at room temperature. (I put it in my oven with the light on.)  When the sponge is ready, it will be filled with large holes and bubbles.

2.  The Dough: Add the water to the sponge, and mix till smooth. Add the flour, yeast and salt, and knead the dough till it’s fairly smooth but not necessarily elastic, about 3 minutes by machine, or 5 minutes by hand. (The gluten will continue to develop as the dough rises, so you don’t want to develop it fully during the kneading process.)

3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours. To help develop the gluten and distribute the yeast’s food, turn the dough twice during the rising time: gently fold all four sides into the middle, and turn the dough over.

4. Divide dough in thirds, and roll each third into a 20-inch-long rope. Braid ropes. Set the braid on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until just puffy.

5. Preheat oven to 345°F. Gently brush the braid with the beaten egg white mixture and sprinkle generously with your choice of herbs. Place a pan of water in the bottom of the oven and bake bread for 25 to 35 minutes. If you want a crispy crust spray your loaf with water 2 to 3 times while it cooks.  Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Once cool, slice and enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Fake Ginger

2 comments:

ziabaki said...

Sigh, sadly I'm a breadaholic too. In fact I had to give it up except for special occasions which was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be! Great pictures! Good luck with processing your husband's deer. Deer is so yummy! FYI I changed the sausage recipe from 3 cups of meat to 5 cups. You can keep it at 3 cups for a spicier sausage. We are going to make 5 different types of sausage this weekend. Check back for the great sausage event next week.

Cheri Witmer said...

I made it with 5 cups, I would like it spicy but my kids can't handle it sooo...going to probably cook some up tomorrow. Made some Venison Meatballs tonight and they were a BIG hit at our potluck, made about 50 came home with 5!

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