Friday, 13 September 2013

Eight-strand plaited loaf

Whenever I am looking for a great bread recipe I like to reach for Paul Hollywood's  'How to bake' book.  This recipe is a simple one, don't let it scare you away!  If you have not made bread before find  'How to make a perfect loaf?' in my baking tips. You should at least make it once- it looks stunning!


For the loaf:
  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 7g fast action dried yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 340ml water
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • pinch of sea salt
Place the flour in a large bowl, add yeast on one side and salt on the other.  Stir until the ingredients are evenly mixed.

Add the olive oil and water and mix.  When all the ingredients are combined turn onto a floured surface  and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is silky and stretchy.

Place the dough in a large bowl, cover with a cloth and leave to ride for about an hour, until doubled in size. 

When risen, quickly knead the dough and shape into a bowl.  Divide the dough into eight equal pieces and roll out each piece into a strand about 40cm long.

Lay the strands out, stick them all together at the to and number them from 1-8 from left to right.  Every time you move any strand it will take the new number in the row.

Step 1: place 8 under 7 and over 1
Step 2: place 8 over 5
Step 3: place 2 under 3 and over 8
Step 4: place 1 over 4
Step 5: place 7 under 6 and over 1

Repeat steps 2-5 until all the dough is braided.

Tuck both ends of the loaf underneath to give a tidy finish.

Place the loaf onto a lined baking tray and leave to prove for an hour, until well risen.

Brush the loaf with lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with sea salt.   Bake for 20-30 minutes.

Leave the loaf to cool before cutting.


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