Patricia's braided bread is very versatile, the images of warm apple & cinnamon; gooey tangy apricot jam; velvety chopped walnuts (all from her suggestions) have been lingering my mind. The bread itself is mild sweet, and its crumb is tender due to a high portion of milk in it. I've made the bread richer by filling in sweet ground almond, topped with almond flakes and coarse sugar... want me to wake up in the cold day of morning, dangle this bread in front of me! Basic recipe of braided bread Recipe courtesy Patricia from Technicolor Kitchen
- 240 ml whole milk, lukewarm
- 2 1/4 tsps active dry yeast
- 3 1/3 cups bread/ unbleached all purpose flour
- 6 Tbps sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs (1 for egg wash)
- 5 Tbps soft unsalted butter, room temperature
- filling: I used store-bought almond's filling
- topping: almond flakes, coarse sugar
- To prepare the sponge: Dissolve the yeast in milk, sit for 5 minutes, you should see the liquid turns frothy. Add one cup of flour and the sugar, cover, rise at 80F room temperature for 40 minutes
- Mixing and 1st rise: Combine the remaining flour, the sponge, 1 egg, salt and butter, knead until it's elastic and smooth. The dough should feel moist (don't tempt to add too much extra flour) but not too sticky. Cover, rise until double. I like to rise it in refrigerator overnight instead so that I can bake it on the next day early morning, just remember to bring the dough back to room temperature before proceeding the next step.
- Shaping and final rise: lightly flour the work table, roll dough to 35 x 45cm rectangle, cut the long side and divide into three equal rectangles, spread the filling but leave 1.5 cm away from one side, brush this side with some egg, roll up (start from the other side) like jelly roll, pinch to seal, repeat to the other two strips. Lightly butter the back of a jelly roll pan, braid (but don't pull!) the three rolls, seam-side down. Cover, rest in 80F room temperature for 30 minutes. In the mean time pre-heat the oven 350F.
- Baking: Egg wash the bread, sprinkle almond flakes and coarse sugar. By 15 - 20 minutes have a quick glance to the bread... it may brown too soon, loosely lay a piece of foil on top to complete the baking time. Mine totally took 30 minutes. Transfer on rack to cool. Best to consume on the same day.
- I want to try this... replace 2/3 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour by bleached all-purpose flour (lower protein), to see if I can get a more delicate interior