Braided Bread

December 9th, 2019 · 20 Comments

Braided Bread from Sugarlaws

First, some very good news.  I have moved to a new blog hosting company — which means, happily for me, that I will never have to deal with the old (awful) blog hosting company ever again.  Happily for you, this should mean that you don’t see any more terrible error messages about CPU quotas, server unavailability, or my blog being disabled (no, I was not expecting that, and yes, I screamed and cried). 

So, with that taken care of, I give you this awesome braided bread recipe.  I’m excited to post this because it seems that nearly every time I post a bread recipe, it’s extremely popular.  And I know exactly why that is — it’s because freshly baked, homemade bread is quite possibly the most wonderful creation on earth.  I can resist most of the things I create in my kitchen — I managed to go several days before polishing off the flourless chocolate cake I just posted, and I’ve navigated countless batches of cookies and cakes without completely gorging myself. 

But fresh baked bread?  Somehow it never even lasts even overnight. 

So after a rough week, this was my ultimate comfort food.  Soft and slightly dense, it’s a serious breakfasty bread that could use a smear of jam and not much else. 

Braided Bread from Sugarlaws

Braided Bread

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp sugar
1 packet active dry yeast (approx 2 1/4 tsp)
1 cup warm milk (microwaved for 20-30 seconds)
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 egg, beaten

DIRECTIONS
Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm milk in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes until milky.  Add flour, butter and salt to yeast mixture; mix until evenly incorporated.

Knead the dough until smooth (about 5-10 minutes).  Cover dough with plastic wrap, and let rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Punch the dough down and divide it into four equal portions.  Roll each quarter of the dough into a long rope, approximately 12″ long.  Place all four ropes on top of a greased baking sheet.  Take the top end of each rope and press together to join them.  Braid the dough by taking each outside rope and moving it to the center (I don’t know how to better describe braiding, but if you don’t know how, google it!).  Tuck the ends below the braided strands if any are uneven.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.  While the bread is rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bake the dough for 15 minutes and remove from the oven.  Brush the beaten egg onto the dough to create an even, glossy layer.  Put the dough back in the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm, if possible.

Serves 8.

Braided Bread from Sugarlaws

Tags: breads · food

Bagels

July 17th, 2019 · 21 Comments

Bagels from Sugarlaws

I actually put of making these for a long time.  Like, six months or a year, during which I really *wanted* to make homemade bagels, but somehow I couldn’t do it.

Why?  Because I thought they were hard to make!  In fact, I thought they would take all day, be easy to screw up, and generally be a finicky bread recipe.

But, come on.  These are bagels.  There is nothing finicky or annoying about them — they are just easy, totally simple, and immensely satisfying.  Smeared with a pat of butter or jam, you have an easy, simple, and completely delicious.  Plus, I froze about two thirds of this batch, and they’re easy to defrost in a toaster oven and make a perfect on-the-way-to-work snack.  As an extra tip, I like to cut them in half before freezing them — instant portion control for those days you’re just not that hungry in the morning.

So, I think you should make these.  I know I end a very significant percentage of my posts this way, but it’s because I genuinely love these recipes, and nothing makes me happier than hearing from you guys when you make them and email me about them!  Sincerely, nothing makes me happier than those moments.  So, well, go make these.  Please.  If only to make my day!

Bagels from Sugarlaws

Bagels

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 package active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water

DIRECTIONS:
Proof the yeast in 1/4 cup of water until frothy.  Mix the yeast mixture, the rest of the water, salt, sugar, and both flours and knead for 5-10 minutes.  Allow the to rise in a greased bowl, covered with saran wrap, for about an hour.  Punch the dough down, and let it rest on a lightly floured surface.

Meanwhile, in a large pot bring a pot of water to a boil. Stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Cut dough into 9 equal pieces, and roll each piece into a small ball. Poke a hole in the middle of each, and pull the dough gently to enlarge the hole.  Prepare a baking sheet with parchment or silipat and preheat your oven to 375 degrees,

Carefully transfer bagels to boiling water, and boil for 1 minute, turning halfway through.  Drain briefly after taking each bagel out of the water, and place it on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle them with your choice of toppings (sea salt, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, etc).  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. 

Bagels from Sugarlaws

Tags: breads · Breakfast and Brunch · food

Danish Braid

May 20th, 2019 · 44 Comments

Most of us have a “to cook” list.  Mine is probably a hundred recipes I’ve pulled from magazines and websites, and honestly, I have no hope of ever finishing it (particularly as it grows about ten times faster than I complete any of the recipes).  However, in addition to the recipe list, I have a to-learn technique list, which includes homemade puff pastry.

It started a few months ago, when I saw Jacques Pepin smoothly roll out a homemade sheet of puff pastry using nothing but a tapered wooden rolling pin, flour, water, and butter.  Unbelievable!  No refrigeration, no resting time, just rolling, folding and baking.  Needless to say, when I looked at this recipe, I thought I’d do it the Jacques way.

But I am not Jacques Pepin, and when I attempted to roll, fold, and roll again, something went horribly wrong.  I ended up with a table and rolling pin covered in butter, and definitely nothing resembling puff pastry.  So I stepped back, called upon my inner reserves of patience, and attempted to follow the recipe as written.  Go figure.  Not surprisingly, my dough soon went from picture (a) to picture (b), below:

Much improved.  In fact, eventually, throw in a little rhubarb jam, and I could get it to picture (c), which is this tasty little thing:

I brought this to work because there was no chance I would eat the whole thing, being 1) not particularly prone to eating breakfast, 2) not a huge fan of danish, and 3) not particularly inclined to gain 5 pounds in a week.  

But everyone loved it — I will definitely be making this again.  In fact, it’s Saturday, and I have nothing to do…

Click Here for the Recipe!

Tags: breads · Breakfast and Brunch · food