A Sunday after-dinner conversation led to the following recipe for my sister Beckys braided bread recipe.
The family was talking after dinner one Sunday, when Becky, the creative, artsy one in the family, asked when I was going to include one of her recipes in the Blount Today column. There was silence around the table as we thought about Beckys contributions to the cooking in the family!
Truthfully, however, everyone does something well and Beckys
thing is her bread. Her breads have long been a favorite in
the family, especially among the nieces and nephews -- and now the great-nieces and great-nephews.
If you can capture a few braids of Aunt Beckys bread before they are eaten, they freeze well, too.
Beckys Braided Bread
1 tsp. sugar
2 pkgs. yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp. measured)
1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
Mix together and let yeast begin to work. While the yeast is working, mix together the following, using a mixer.
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees)
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp. salt
After the above are well mixed, add the yeast mixture. Stir, then add 7 to 9 cups of bread flour. Just keep adding the flour until you can handle the dough. This recipe is very forgiving. A little bit too much or too little flour wont affect the taste of the bread.
You should be able to pinch the dough and it keep its shape. I pour the dough out onto a smooth cloth spread liberally with flour, work the dough into a smooth ball.
Have a large bowl warmed and sprayed with any non-stick spray. Place your dough in the bowl, spray the top of the dough with non-stick spray, and cover with a cloth. Put the bowl in a warm place. (I like to place mine in the oven with the light on.)
After about 1 hour, the dough should be doubled in size. Punch it down and place it on a cloth. Work in a little flour so it will be easier to work with.
Cut off 3 equal pieces to braid, about 3/4 cup. Pull and squeeze the pieces out into 3 equal ropes about 12 inches long. Lay the ropes on a cookie sheet, hook together at the top and braid them. Tuck the ends together.
Let the braids rise in a warm spot for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Mix an egg that is at room temperature with 2 tbsp. warm water.
Brush braids with egg mixture just before baking.
Bake at 375 degrees until browned. Place on wire rack to cool.
This recipe makes about 6 large braids, and you should be able to get 3 braids per cookie sheet.