Monday, January 9, 2012

Braided Loaf

I made a big pot of bean soup today and wanted some nice crusty bread to go along with it.  I pulled out a cookbook that I have had for quite awhile now but have never tried any of the recipes.  The Ultimate Low Fat Baking Cookbook is a beautiful cookbook and I especially like it because it has a picture with every recipe.  As I flipped through the pages I came across a Braided Loaf that looked easy and beautiful.  So I got out all my ingredients and made a really nice loaf of bread.  I was trying to do the 5 strand braid but I think I got it all!  I was still happy with the results.  This was quite delicious for a low fat bread....a nice crispy crunch on the outside and warm soft goodness on the inside.  I will surely make it again!

The soup didn't turn out so bad either!!  It was a warm, comforting dinner!


Braided Loaf
Serves 10 
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 c lukewarm skim milk ( I used unsweetened almond milk)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3 cups all purpose flour ( I used 1 1/2 c. all purpose and 1 1/2 c. whole white wheat flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon skim milk, for glazing. (I forgot that step :( )
  1. Combine the yeast, honey, milk and butter, stir and let sit for 15 minutes to dissolve
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt.  Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture .  With a wooden spoon, stir from the center incorporating flour with each turn, to obtain a rough dough.
  3. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.  Place in a clean bowl, cover, and let rice in a warm place until doubled in volume. about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Punch down the dough and divide into three equal pieces.  Roll to shape each piece into a long thin strip.
  5. Begin braiding from the center strip, tucking in the ends to conceal them.  Cover loosely and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place the bread in a cool place while the oven heats.  Brush with glaze and bake until golden, 40-45 minutes.  Set on rack and cool completely (or not!!) before serving.

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