You can use your favourite bread recipe to braid a breadbasket for a casual Sunday family brunch or a more formal special event. Go a step further and fill the edible basket with other baked goods or your favourite dip. Surround the dip-filled basket with different types of breads, muffins and breakfast pastries, or make braided baguettes for a coordinating edible accessory.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 cup milk
- 2 1/2 tbsp soft butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 1/2 cup flour
- Bread maker (optional)
- Oven-safe bowl or casserole dish
- Vegetable shortening or butter
- Rolling pin
- Pastry wheel or pizza cutter
- 1 egg
- Oven-safe plate or lid
Mix together 1 1/2 tsp of sugar with 1/2 cup of lukewarm water and stir in a large mixing bowl until the sugar dissolves. Add 2 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast. Do not mix for 10 minutes and then mix the yeast into the mixture.
Pour 1 cup of warm milk, 1/2 cup lukewarm water, 2 1/2 tbsp soft butter, 2 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp salt into a separate bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the large mixing bowl.
Add 2 cups of sifted flour to the mixture and mix with an electric or hand mixer on a medium setting for approximately one minute.
Add 2 1/4 cups of flour to the mixture, a little bit at a time, and mix thoroughly for about another 30 to 60 seconds.
Transfer the dough to a flour-covered working surface and knead for 10 to 12 minutes. Place the dough in the bread maker for its first rise or place it in a covered bowl in a warm room. Leave the dough to rise for approximately 60 minutes.
Cover the bottom of your oven-safe bowl or casserole dish with a light coating of butter or vegetable shortening.
Place the dough on a clean, floured surface. Roll it out into a long rectangular shape.
Use a pastry wheel or pizza cutter to cut 1-inch-wide strips from the dough. Set aside any leftover pieces of the dough just in case you need a few more strips.
Pinch the ends of three of the strips together and braid the entire length of the strips.
Place the pinched end in the bottom centre of the casserole dish or bowl and wrap the remainder of the strip around the end in a circular motion, keeping the braid pressed gently against the bottom of the dish. This way, you will fill the bottom of the dish with the braid and then continue wrapping the braided bread along the sides of the dish as well. When you reach the braid's ends, do not pinch them together. Leave them to join to the next section of braid.
Braid another three strips of bread dough. Do not pinch the ends together.
Moisten the ends of the braid with water and attach the ends of the new braided strip to the ends of the braid in the bowl. Smooth the edges to hide the seam line.
Continue to wrap the braid around the inside of the dish. Continue to add more bread strip braids until you reach the top of the dish. Make one last circle of braided bread around the inside top edge of the dish. Smooth the ends of the final braid against the nearest section of bread dough.
Place an oven-safe plate or lid on top of the dish or bowl and let the bread rise for approximately 35 minutes.
Mix 1 egg and 1 1/5 tbsp of water in a small bowl and brush the mixture onto the braided basket.
Preheat the oven to 191 degrees Celsius and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Take the lid or plate off the casserole dish and then continue baking for another 12 to 15 minutes or until the bread is lightly browned all over.
Remove the dish from the oven and place the lid or plate back on top for 10 to 15 minutes. Take the lid off and carefully turn the dish upside down to remove the braided basket. Turn the bread basket over.
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