Friday, May 28, 2010

Basic Dough for Festive Loaf

snail bread-2

The snail's shell is filled with pastry cream

Just a few days ago I saw some small rolls that were shaped as a snail display by a bakery shop's window. They made my heart chuckle, momentarily I didn't worry too much about a mountain of chores and a photo-shoot project.

Something about bread... if you've experienced making it, you'd know, that 'life' inside really can touch your heart. Saw it on tv, some bakers made a sign of a cross right after a tea towel was laid on a dough that was ready for proofing. In Barcelona, very often bread is used for celebrating.

The dough of festive loaf normally is enriched with egg, milk and butter. Although a local food culture may vary it by adding pastry cream or dried fruit or shaping it to a certain way, the flavor of the bread itself is not much different from any other sweet bread's ... like cinnamon rolls for an example. But since this dough includes a bit of lemon/orange zest, I find it taste more lovely after adding in some candied citrus fruit.

After got back home from that bakery, I felt like to slow down my pace, so made myself some snail bread ... :) :)


A dough was flatten and cut into 3 long strips, filled with custard, candied orange and dried berry, rolled the strips up from the longest sides. Braided with the 3 strips. After came out from oven and cooled off, dusted some powder sugar on the top

Recipe of Basic Dough for Festive Loaf

(enough for making one 20-cm long braided loaf as shown in the 2nd photo, plus 7 snail bread)

  • 300g flour that is suitable for making bread
  • 100 g milk (adjustable)
  • 35 g butter (with a superb flavor is a must)
  • 35 g sugar (the bread isn't notably sweet)
  • 15 g fresh yeast
  • 2 fresh egg yolks (no white)
  • zest from 1 orange or lemon
  • a pinch of salt


  1. Warm up the milk, sugar and butter, take away from the heat source once the butter melts. Let the temperature cool off to reach lukewarm, add in fresh yeast to dissolve.
  2. Combine the milk mixture with the flour, yolks, salt and orange zest. Knead the dough until elastic and smooth. The dough shouldn't feel dry, it maybe slightly wet, but not sticky to hand. Cover, and proof in a room temp of 75F and it doubles its volume, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Knead the dough a few times, just enough to re-distribute the yeast cells more evenly. Then it is ready for cutting into smaller portions, rolling and shaping (in between giving it a plenty of time of resting in order to accomplish a 'relaxed' gluten). Since the bread itself isn't too sweet, it is ideal for filling with custard/cream/cinnamon sugar etc.
  4. Rest the dough again after the shaping, in a room temp of 75F until it looks puffy, about an hour. Pre-heat the oven to 180F
  5. Bake the bread, depending the size you made, until golden brown. The bread still tastes great on the next day, but still best to consume it within a day or 2.



Quinn said...

Any idea how to shape a snail bread??? Just like the one shown here from bakeries.

Gattina Cheung said...

hi quinn, if i make them again i will take some step-by-step photos, ok :D

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Yummy! those snails are so cute!



Kiki said...

I love your snails, look amazing!I'd say that was a perfectly beautiful idea. I am so impressed. ciao.

Anh said...

I too find bread making very relaxing. Haven’t made anything like this for quite sometimes. No time :_(

Anna Mullican said...

These are too cute!

Anonymous said...

I love your snail bread! ;-)


Susan said...

These are fantastic, whimsical, and very original. Love that first photo in particular.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

What? You didn't take step by steps? That's very mean of you Gattina ;0)

These are really awesome!

Callipygia said...

Gattina you are always my hero! I love these, they capture your whimsy and I agree that something delightful like this can make your day so much brighter!

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

These are so cute. I don't like snails of any sort (eek!), but these I love. :)
Hope you do manage those step-by-step pics sometime soon.

Parita said...

Oh wow these look so so cute and adorable!

Adriana said...

those snails are adorable! i was born and lived most of my life in BCN, now i live in the us... i hope you've had the time to try crema catalana, i just posted a recipe for it!

i'll keep reading your blog!

Marija said...

The snails are adorable!

Margot said...

Oh, I love it!!! I think I will try to make it for my daughter with my mom's cherry puree she sent us...
Those snails are very, very cute :)

cat @ ButteryBakery said...

What a great idea to shape loaves into interesting and fun shapes! Kids would love this!

Edith said...

Long time never visit you. How have you been?

Your blog is still as lovely as before.