Thursday, October 16, 2008

World Bread Day : Tassajara Braided Bread

Today is the 3 rd World Bread Day and I decided to join the baker's group led by Zorra on her site 1x umruhren bitte
I 'met' Edward Espe Brown thanks to 'The Green's cookbook' and soon got his 'Tassajara Bread Book' , I really love his style of baking so when I started to think about a bread I got his book out and found this festive recipe ( it is intended for Christmas) . I hope you enjoy it as we've done in the last breakfasts !

BRAIDED CHRISTMAS BREAD (The Tassajara Bread Book page 61)

1/4 cup lukewarm water
3 packages yeast ( next time I'll put less)
1/2 cup sugar or honey
2 cups milk saclded
1/4 cup butter
3 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
3 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mace
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans or almonds
1/2- 1 cup candied fruit peel or cherries (optional)
4 cups wheat flour

Dissolve the yeast in the water with a little sugar added.
Combine the remaining sugar with the milk and the butter. When this mixture is cool enough add it to the yeast mixture.
Add the 3 1/2 cups of white flour to make a soft sponge, stirring well with a wooden spoon. Set aside to rise.
While the dough is raising, separate the eggs, and beat the yolks and the whites separately. Fold the yolks into the sponge and then the whites. Let it raise until doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes.
Fold in the salt, mace, vanilla, raisins, nuts, and optional candied fruit. Fold in the wheat flor until a dough is formed, and knead well.
Place in a buttered bowl and let rise until doubled in size- about 50 minutes.
Place the dough on a floured board. Work it into a ball or cylinder and divide into 9 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a lenght of 14 inches. Pinch four lenghts together at one end and intertwine them. Place this braid on a well-greased baking sheet. Then braid three lengths and place them on top of the bottom layer. Finally twist together two lengths and place them on top of the second layer. Press the braided lengths together well, since they tend to topple over.
Straighten befor baking, and perhaps while baking.
Now beat up an extra egg, add a little coolish water, and brush the top of the braids all over. Let raise for about 20 minutes, while the oven is preheating at 300°.
Bake for an hour or a little longer until well browned.
Happy baking!