December 14, 2010

(Sweet) Braided Bread

This recipe for sweet braided bread is not really too sweet, but it's really good. Please note that if you would like to make it sweeter, you can add an additional 1/2 cup of sugar to the mixture. This bread is very popular in Eastern European countries, like Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland. It tastes great for breakfast with jam and butter, for sandwiches, or really anytime you want to eat it. I make it quite often, because it not only tastes great, but looks really nice. This recipe makes a large bread so if you don't want so much at once, half the recipe or freeze some of the dough! This recipe surprises a lot of people because it does not include eggs.

20 grams yeast
8 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 tbsp baking powder
raisins (optional)


Combine milk, 4 tbsp of sugar, and the yeast. Whisk well and cover with a kitchen towel; set aside. Yeast is activated by warmth, so I placed mine in a slightly warm oven.

In a large bowl or pot, add the flour, rest of the sugar, and baking powder. Then add about one shot of oil and the yeast mixture after it has risen. (It takes about 10-15 minutes to rise.)

Add a small bit of water and work the dough with your hands until it's no longer sticky. You can add more water as needed. If you overdo it, don't freak out, just add a little more flour to absorb some of the moisture. Form the dough into a bun and dust with flour. Cover with a towel and let the dough rise for an hour or two in a warm place. I like to warm up my oven for about 5 minutes and then turn it off and place the dough inside.

Use a circular motion to scoop the dough out of the bowl onto a floured surface, such as a wooden cutting board. Then, use your hands to flatten the dough. Begin preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (190 C).
(Is it just me or does it look like I have a man hand in this picture!?!)

Lightly grease the dough with oil, fold the dough over, and grease with oil again.

Then fold the dough over again, and form into a bun. If you'd prefer a smaller bread then cut the dough in half. (Just letting you know again that this bread is very large.)

Next, form an elongated bun and cut into four sections. Form them into snake-like shapes.

If you'd like to, add raisins by just pushing them into the dough in rows with raisins about two inches apart. Bring all four pieces together at one end.
Take the piece on the far right and move it to the far left. Continue to do this until you are almost to the end of the dough. Then bring the edges together and twist them together. Elongate the dough that is now formed as one long end piece. Twist the piece to help elongate the dough and bring it back to the first end. Pinch the dough together with the end below.

Brush the dough with a little bit of oil. (Mine looks like I doused it, but I didn't really.)

Bake the bread for 20 minutes on the bottom of your oven. (350 F/190 C). Cut into slices and serve.

See, I told you it was big!

I like to eat it with butter and strawberry jam! YUM!