I have been baking bread for about five years now. In that time many different sizes and shapes of bread have graced my dinner table, yet I have never experimented with a braided loaf. The concept is easy, three ropes of dough are carefully maneuvered back and forth until the end of the ropes are reached and a beautiful braid is achieved. Lets just say there is a reason you do not see a picture of my loaf before it was cut. Let's just say that I am going to have to practice this technique. :)
This was one of the quickest yeast bread recipes that I have ever made. The whole process from raw ingredients to baked loaf could not have taken much more than an hour and a half. The end result was quite delicious and went well with the chicken manicotti and salad that was served at my monthly scrapbooking night. This is definitely a recipe that I will make again.
as seen on Christy's Kitchen Creations from Taste of Home
4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 packages (1/4 oz each) quick-rise yeast
2 teaspoons dried basil
1-3/4 teaspoons dill weed
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 tablespoon butter, melted
In a large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and seasonings. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, water and cubed butter to 120-130 degrees. Add to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Add egg; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Divide dough into thirds. Shape each into a 15-in. rope. Place ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 25 minutes.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.