Let’s Get Twisted!

Happiness is the smell of freshly baked bread!  I often remind myself that happiness comes from within, but it is always nice to have a friend to help out on those extra challenging days…why not bread!  For me, baking bread is another form of creativity.  How golden brown will the crust be?  What shape do I want to experiment with next?   (I have to admit, creating bread turtles brings out a lot of happiness in me!)  So, for this last winter weekend, before spring approaches, I thought my favorite braided herb bread recipe would be the perfect slice of happiness to share. Now, let’s get twisted!

Simple Braided Herb Bread

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Yield – 1 braided loaf

***

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 C warm water

***

1 C warm water

1 T melted butter

1 tsp salt

***

3  1/2 C bread flour – I prefer King Arthur unbleached

3 T of fresh herbs – rosemary, thyme and oregano work well

2 T melted butter

Step 1: In a bowl, add 1/4 C warm water, 1/2 tsp sugar and 2 1/2 tsp yeast. Stir.  Leave undisturbed for 10 minutes, allowing time for the yeast to activate.

Step 2: Add 1 C of warm water, 1 T of melted butter and 1 tsp salt to the yeast mixture.

Step 3: Beat in flour. (I let my Kitchen Aid do all of the work!) I prefer adding no more than 1 cup at a time. Your dough should be slightly sticky.

Step 4: Knead dough for 7-8 minutes, until it becomes smooth and stretchy. You might need to add a bit more flour during this process, for this consistency.  (Once again, I let my Kitchen Aid do the work!) After kneading, shape dough into one large ball and place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with olive oil.  Cover the bowl with Cling wrap and place in a warm area for 50-60 minutes.  It should double in size, during this time.

Step 5:  Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Knead fresh herbs into each part.  This is where I like to be creative!  If I am in a hurry, I tend to go with all rosemary. I grow it year round inside, so I always have fresh on hand.  Mixing a different herb into each portion is always a yummy choice, too.  I have also enjoyed using lavender with a touch of honey.  Be creative and take risks!  Cooking is Art!  Regardless of what herbs you choose to incorporate, you should end up with three equal sized herb-filled dough balls.

Step 6: Place the three herb-filled dough balls back in the bowl to rest for 10 minutes.

Step 7: Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Roll each dough ball between your hands, creating a long rope.  Braid the three ropes together, pinching the ends together and tucking them under.  If you are feeling fancy, pull the ends together to create a bread wreath. (See above photo)  Cover and place in a warm area for 45 minutes.

Step 8: Brush the top of the dough with 2 T of melted butter.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden.  Cool on a wire rack.

Note: My family loves to dip this bread in extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled with an herb blend and Parmesan cheese. Yum!

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You!

Roda

2 thoughts on “Let’s Get Twisted!

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