Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Soft Braided Bread

Ok, I get it! Rumor has traveled back to me that some of you have actually checked the Indiana obituaries to see if I've passed on to the next life. Y'all can get back to reading the funny pages as I'm still among the living and will hopefully not be gracing the obitupages for a long, long time. I'm still alive, kicking and ornery as ever, but a recent osteoporosis diagnosis has forced me into abandoning my dream of becoming a rodeo clown. And I suppose as long as I'm revealing all, I had to shitcan the whole pole dancing thing as well. Sigh.


The reason for today's post? I am cleaning out my freezer and trying to use up the dozens of bags of flour that I accumulated when I was part of the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge. This bread recipe has become hubby's new favorite and I make it at least once a week. The basic recipe calls for All Purpose flour, but in the interest of using my specialty flours, I do substitute some of the AP with white whole wheat flour, regular whole wheat flour, and even Sir Lancelot flour. This post is not really intended to be a tutorial, but rather a permanent recipe card for me so I can finally toss the nasty sticky note with the handwritten recipe.
Soft Braided Bread

STARTER

2 cups flour (about 8 1/2 ounces) I used half Sir Lancelot and half white whole wheat flour for this loaf
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 cup (8 ounces) room temperature water

Whisk together the flour and yeast in the bowl of stand mixer. Add water and stir well to combine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest on counter overnight (at least 12 hours)

DOUGH

2 to 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (8 1/2 to 10 1/2 ounces)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP vital wheat gluten
2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 cup milk (room temperature)
1/4 cup (4 TBSP) shortening, cut into pieces (6-8)

In medium bowl, whisk 2 cups of the flour with the salt, sugar and wheat gluten. Set the remaining 1/2 cup of flour aside.

Add the milk to the starter and whisk to combine. Add the yeast and whisk to combine. Add the flour/salt/sugar mixture and stir to combine.

Attach dough hook to mixer and start to knead dough.. Gradually add in the shortening and then as much of the remaining flour as needed. Knead by machine for about 6 minutes.

Spray large bowl with cooking spray. Transfer dough to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, gently deflating dough about halfway through rise time.

Cover large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with cornmeal or semolina flour.

Pour dough onto greased counter and separate into three sections, about 11 ounces each. Roll each section into a 15 inch rope and then braid bread, tucking and sealing both ends of the loaf. Transfer the loaf to the prepared baking sheet and cover loosely with greased plastic wrap. Allow to rise until double, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place baking sheet in oven and bake bread for 15 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 400 degrees, rotate loaf 180 degrees for even browning and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove loaf from oven and transfer to cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.

12 comments:

Barbara Bakes said...

I pinned this recipe. If you make it weekly. I'd better try it soon. Glad you're doing well.

Pam said...

I use my blog posts as recipe sticky notes too.

Jacquelineand.... said...

I'm sorry to read about your diagnosis...I suppose you could always try chair dancing?!

I used to make a very similar bread but stuffed it with different cheeses; this looks gorgeous and delicious.

Donna said...

So glad to see you are still in the land of the living. Great looking bread too!

Kat said...

Well, Mags, it is always good to hear from you. Sorry about your dreams of pole dancing and rodeo clown! :-)
The bread looks great. I don't blog much anymore, because my life is boring!!! LOL!

Anonymous said...

The bread sounds wonderful - I bake all of ours - so I'll have to try this new recipe! Mags, I recently had a bone scan that I flunked so badly it's a wonder I can walk without breaking everything. The osteoporosis was caused by a parathyroid tumor which I just had removed at a parathyroid center in Tampa, FL. Please - have your doc do a blood calcium level and PTH level, then read about how these things suck all the calcium out of our bones at www.parathyroid.com. Dr. Norman aved my life and my bones with surgery just over two weeks ago. It's the only place in the world totally dedicated to curing this disease that robs us of our bones. I'm lucky in that I live a little over an hour from them, and being an R.N., I wanted the best, so that's where I went for surgery. A 20 minute surgery and 1 inch incision later, I'm cured, and re-building bone like crazy.Trust me - ask your doc to check your calcium and PTH (parathyroid hormone) levels.

Mags @ the Other Side of 50 said...

Anonymous: Thank you so much for caring enough to post that info. I appreciate your help! I think I remember the oncologist saying that my osteoporosis could be a result of one of the anti-estrogen meds I'm taking?

Rosemary & Garlic said...

Good to hear that you aren't in the obituaries.

June said...

So very happy to hear you're still in the land of the living and lucky for the local pole dancers that you've given it up. I mean that was some competition and I'm certain their tips will improve accordingly. Hugs coming your way!

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saltandserenity said...

The bread looks so delicious. I must admit, since finishing the BBA Challenge, I have not been baking much bread. My freezer is also still full from my shopping sprees at King Arthur!
Sorry to hear about your osteoporosis diagnosis (hey that rhymes!). I am more than a little envious that you have a second grandchild on the way. You are very blessed indeed.
Be well.

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