Monday, December 26, 2011

braided bread~

one of my traditions is to to make this braided Christmas bread. i think i tried it for the first time in the late 80's and have hardly missed a year since. in the last few years, i've made a couple of extras to share with friends, and one of them asked me to teach her how. i said "i'll do a blog about it and then you'll have a step by step tutorial-how about that?" so this ones for you cindy lou who~
so you start with frozen bread dough. (fetting's is not, nor have they ever paid me to promote their products. i think they should consider it though don't you?) i take it out of the freezer and let it thaw in the bag overnight in the fridge. it should be starting to raise some when you start to use it. next separate the loaves . for this tutorial, i laid 2 loafs side by side and started rolling them out on a flour covered counter.( lucky me, my hubbie remodeled our kitchen and put in granite counters for me a few years ago and they are marvelous for baking).

so now you roll them out, attempting to make a long rectangle, it does not have to be perfect~ then slap some softened butter on the bad boy and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon and sugar.
           use as much or as little as you want. this is what mine looked like

now the skilled part starts my friends, if you don't already have an apron on-get it on and get your hair in a ponytail! so you take a scissors ~wash it please if you've been using it to do Christmas crafts : ) ~ and start snipping in on the edges. i am not a perfectionist. i have never in all the years i've made this counted or measured how many snips a side gets. just cut in about 1/3 of the way into your rectangle, in about 1/2 inch slices and you'll most likely end up with about the same number of tabs on both sides. if you don't, just get creative and wrap two tabs at a turn if it's uneven!

here's another peek at this cool part of the fun-it's like bread dough origami!

now you start at the top and start wrapping the two sides in, one over the top of the other and press the tabs down lightly as you intertwine them. i love this part! like i said, if you see one side is getting left behind, just be bold and use two tabs from one side and play catch up.

when you get to the bottom, leave the last 2 tabs to connect your wreath on the pan. now you've got this cool rectangular braid right? but-we're making a wreath, so spray a cookie sheet with pam (or gladys if you're out of pam) and gently pick up your braid and transfer it to the pan, shaping it in a circle as you lay it down. now use the 2 end tabs to tuck it together.

if your pan is really old, i think it tastes more authentic-more homemade

this picture was totally unnecessary, i just liked it.

 now cover it with plastic wrap and let it raise and double in size- this takes about an hour. preheat the oven to 350 and bake app. 20 minutes, until it's firm when you tap on it and getting slightly browned. take it out of the oven and let it set until it's cooled and then get ready to frost and decorate.
 i'd suggest you make a cup of coffee and get a jar of maraschino cherries. my powdered sugar frosting is just basic ~ start with about 2 cups of  p. sugar and add enough milk to make it spreadable. i add a tbsp of soft butter and a tsp of almond extract (very important). spread it on your wreath and then decorate with cherries, diced in half.

if you think it looks pretty, just WAIT until you taste it!

maybe this looks like a lot of work but believe me-it's really not. i'd say it takes less than 12 minutes to get it from the rolling out step-to shaped and on the pan. it really is a crowd favorite so be brave-give it a try- seriously yummalicious!

xo, beth

1 comment:

  1. Bethie- There has been a braided roll loaf ready to be made in the freezer since we moved in to our new apt. and I am planning to make it this week/weekend sometime. My favorite thing ever! Hopefully it turns out as good as the one you bring down to our house on Christmas every year!


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