Folding and Braiding bread dough

What I like most about bread is…

eating it, of course!
But what I like most about making bread is the versatility of design and pattern that you can incorporate into your loaf or bun/roll.

Yesterday I made two different doughs-

~rye with caraway seeds~

~sourdough peasant ~

I had different purposes for each bread- the rye for sausage rolls and the sourdough for a picnic sandwich loaf.  They worked out perfectly – I folded the rye and sliced it (as Celia showed in one of her posts , entitled school rolls.)

It was so easy and fun and they rolls were a perfect complement for the Italian sausage I fixed for supper.

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This dough was made with Ohio grown and milled rye and wheat, and topped off with caraway seeds I grew in my herb garden.  Freshly harvested caraway seeds are magnificent in fragrance and flavor- and very easy to grow and harvest.  If you love caraway seed at all, I suggest you try growing your own.  It is very rewarding!

I braided the sourdough peasant bread.

It is called peasant bread because of the addition of a handful or so of the freshly milled rye flour in with the high gluten bread flour.  This dough was so pliable and fun to work with- it begged to be braided  !

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Sorry these pictures are so dark- it was stormy looking all day yesterday, and I didn’t realize how dark it was until I looked at these pictures this morning.

Dividing the dough into  pieces I rolled them into long snakes and then started braiding in the center- leaving the ends loose, I then turned the entire braid over and finished braiding backwards. 

Braid loosely so there is room for the bread to raise!

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I used a pizza pan to shape the wreath, and connected the ends to each other by pinching and cajoling (hah- a little bread humor!).  Then brushed on an egg white wash and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

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Allow to raise about 1 1/2 hours and then bake for about 25 minutes at 375 F.

Isn’t it beautiful?

I’m going to slice through it and make it into a giant picnic sandwich !

And look how the rye rolls turned out-

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They tasted even better than they look!

Yesterday was a very good bread day!

7 thoughts on “Folding and Braiding bread dough

  1. Wow….. this looks great!! I love the braided dough and will definitely try it soon! This is my first time reading your blog; I found it while looking up lavender bottles. I’ve only read 2 posts so far, but I already like it and you seem like a wonderful woman. Have a blessed day and keep on blogging!

  2. Your caraway rye rolls are delicious. The sandwiches you made with them yesterday were the best I’ve had. Today we are going to try your sour dough with friends on a picnic.

  3. Brydie,
    I’m ALL about presentation. I sell my bread to a bakery and at bazaars around the holidays- and to most people it doesn’t matter as much how it tastes as how it LOOKS!
    I am personally, however , about the taste- so when I buy bread for myself, I want to know how and with what it was made. I don’t buy bread often, but I want to have a conversation with the baker before I bite into the bread.
    Rustic is fine as long as the bread is toothsome!
    You are such a loving and loyal sister! I’m glad to share whatever I make with you!
    Of all the shapes, I love the braid the best! It has endless possibilities for use and decoration- AND – it can be used to mix three different doughs together. Last time I made a rye, sourdough french and honey whole wheat braid. It was so very good.

  4. Heidi, I’m so glad I read this post! I’ve been trying to braid bread, but my first attempt looked like a caveman’s club. Plus the sourdough strands all proved into each other during the rise. I didn’t think you could get such a beautiful result from sourdough – I thought it had to be hard yeasted dough. Do you do anything special during the shaping of the strands to keep them together during the last rise? Thank you…

    And your rolls look perfect! 🙂

  5. Celia,
    I’ve been wondering about the different responses we get from our dough. I think for one thing, I add much more flour when kneading than you- my dough is almost never sticky- I keep flouring my hands and the surface as it is absorbed until I have a rather firm dough. I also think I knead longer- around 10-15 minutes- until the dough “feels” right- flexible and smooth.
    Sometimes, when I am rolling out the strands for braiding I will add yet another sprinkling of flour to keep them from sticking whilst being braided. I don’t have a scientific reasoning behind this- I barely use a recipe most of the time.
    You could try using just 1 tsp. of rapid rise instant yeast to the mix, not enough to mess with the flavor or crumb but just enough to give the gluten something to hang on to.
    Again, I’m not certain of the reason, I learned how to make bread by adding another handful of flour, a pinch of salt, and to knead the dough in the bowl until all the flour comes off the sides. 🙂

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