Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Almond Braided Bread

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.

My note:

  • 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



Anh said...

Oh Gattina, I would like a piece of this bread. DO you think I can adapt to have some thick jam filling instead? I just made a big pot of jam (will tell you why later!), and now looking to use it up.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I loved this recipe on Patricia's blog, and I love what you've done with it. The sliced almonds on top are especially beautiful.

Helene said...

Oh Yummm! I made her bread the other day and used marzipan in it. It was awesome. Yours look absolutely delicious!

Anonymous said...

Gattina - This looks lovely...almost too lovely to eat! (almost...ha!)It is perfect for this weather...yum!

Anonymous said...

I have been eyeing Patricia's recipe too. You did it great justice! Looks wonderful!

Jeanna said...

Wow, I don't think anyone in this family has made bread since my grandma in the sixites. This is making me ambitious.

Gattina Cheung said...

Anh, jam is a good choice I believe, the bread isn't too sweet anyway. :D

Lydia, thanks! Yes, I always like almond.

Helene, I love marzipan, yours must be good!

Chris, esp coming out from oven, really want to hug it, hehee.

Kristen, thanks!

Jeanna, you're lucky, no one in my family, in any generation, make bread. Thanks for dropping by :D

Sia said...

lovely presentation again gattina. looks really awesome

Patricia Scarpin said...

My dear Gattina,

Your bread looks wonderful! Such a beautiful color, the almonds on top are a great effect.
I love it!

Thank you for the lovely words, for the link, everything - you've always been so supportive, visiting and commenting on my blog even when there was only the Portuguese version of it. It means a lot to me, because your cooking is always an inspiration.

I'll be making the bread again using this almond combination. Oh, boy, I'm sure it's delicious!


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Wow, that's lovely Gattina.Yes, I really do love almond and the overnight rising of bread. You've done excellent well here.

Anonymous said...

Oooooh, Gattina! Please please please adopt me! I promise that I don't take much space, I just need a box under the kitchen table...with easy access to wherever you store your delicious cooking ;)

FH said...

Yummy!!Hey! Throw in some spicy potatoes and make it savory too.Sounds good,doesn't it?! They make it that way in Indian bakeries in India.I will try this recipe.Thanks G!

Brilynn said...

That looks like it's straight out of a bakery!

Anonymous said...

This bread looks soooo good! I like the addition of the almonds, I must try this adaption!

Mishmash ! said...

Such a cute braided breads !!!! Is this recipe for an amateur like me...if not pls do one fast ;)


Freya said...

This looks lovely! You and Patricia are very gifted braiders!

Anonymous said...

This looks delicious Gattina! I love almonds and can't wait to give this a try. I think it'll be great for my brunch party next weekend.

Thanks a ton! :)

Peabody said...

How beautiful is that!!!

Callipygia said...

So beautiful, so fetchingly soft and sweet. But tell me Gattina, is this bread a boy or girl? Sorry, that last photo looks like "a bundle of joy"!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Oh this is cruel Gattina! First I was coveting Patricia's and now yours! It's so beautiful!

Lis said...

If this bread tastes as good as it looks, then you've definitely got a winner there! =)

Sounds wonderful, sweetie!

Anonymous said...

Yum! Looks terrific!
Bread is good!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a beautiful loaf of bread, Gattina!

isabilla said...

ciao Gattina,
this bread looks so delicious!
compliments for your photos!

Seema Bhat said...

Gattina, Holy Moly the bread looks just picture perfect. Beautiful presentation girl. Love it.

Gattina Cheung said...

Sia, thanks for your sweet words!

Particia, I'm the one should thank YOU for sharing such a easy yet delicious bread! I like (sweeten) nuts, I feel we both have a similar taste, bet you love this version too! Apple and cinnamon (oh cinnamon!!!) really sound attractive, but believe it or not, you'd never find apple in my house. So I need to dospecial shopping if I want to bake something with apple. *hug*

Tanna, thanks for your compliment! I hate my schedule being tight up by something, and dough overnight fermented in fridge works for me :)

Ellie, oh you lil' kitty!!! :P But hey, you're fantastic a baker!!! C'mon, feed me :P

Asha, wow! I like your idea!!! Off this topic, I used to like a bun, filled with curry potato (you know that "curry powder" pre-mix stuff), then the bread coated with more crumbs before deep-fried. Oh ma ma mia!!!

Brilynn, oh thanks sweetie!

Laurie, I just love almond, hope you like it too!

Shn, don't worry, we only gain knowlege from making mistakes (in cooking/baking). It could be a challenging recipe if you're the first time baker, as you need to learn rolling dough (before shaping), learn to make sponge (an extra step), but try it, they may not be that difficult as you think. And yes, surely I will bake you a whole loaf :D

Freya, esp since I never braid my hair (always with short hair cut), so do it in here :D

Meena, thanks!!! Have a great fun at party!

Peabody, thanks buddy!

Callipygia, hahahaaa! *LOL* but I like it! And it (hand kneading) is labor!

Susan, thanks sweetie!

Sher sweetheart, just remember to bring you bak-choy seeds over if you hang out in my yard :) :)

Lis, xoxo

Veron, thank you :D

Gilly, thanks for the compliement :D

Isabilla, grazie! Thanks for dropping by, baci!

Seema, thank you so much for your sweet words!

Anonymous said...

The bread looks so fresh, tempting and Yummilicious......Wonderful presentation Gattina..

Anonymous said...

Aww... I love the gorgeous golden crust of your bread. Looks really soft and lovely!

Finla said...

This bread looks so yummy delicous.
Can i use marzipan for the filling than the filling you have done, i don't think i have seen a tinne one like that in the shops.