My first braided bread

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My first braided bread

Postby Howie Hart » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:01 pm

braidbread.jpg
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I had never tried this before, so I had to practice with 3 pieces of twine. Came out pretty good.
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Re: My first braided bread

Postby Robin Garr » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:07 pm

I could eat that! :mrgreen:
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Re: My first braided bread

Postby Jenise » Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:59 pm

It's beautiful, Howie! I'll bet you hated to cut into it.
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Re: My first braided bread

Postby Cynthia Wenslow » Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:48 pm

Robin Garr wrote:I could eat that! :mrgreen:


Hey! That's my line! :D

Great job, Howie.

Twine? But I guess only having that houseful of boy children didn't give you much practice with braiding! It gets easier each time.
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Re: My first braided bread

Postby Frank Deis » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:53 pm

When I got into genealogy -- we knew that my GGF had come over from Germany before the Civil War. I managed to find out the boat he came on and the date, and the town he was from, and finally got the microfilmed records from the tiny church in Germany. They hadn't been careful about restricting those records and so they came up into the 20th century, and I learned the names of some fifth cousins over there in the old home town, which is a Catholic town in Baden-Württemberg a bit west of Ulm. Württemberg is mostly protestant which just makes the outnumbered Catholics that much more observant.

So after my father died my Mom took me on a trip to meet the cousins, which was a lot of fun, and strained my German to the breaking point. Fortunately the daughters had studied English. At any rate when we left my going away present from cousin Anni (a farmer, a Bauernfrau) was a Zopf. That is how special that bread is. This was a rich loaf, braided just about like yours, Howie, and then lightly sugared. I was worried that customs would take it away from me but nobody bothered with it. It was delicious.

If you use Google Images to look for "Zopf" you will find many examples along with articles about "how to make a Zopf." It seems to be the term in use throughout southern Germany and Switzerland. And obviously Challah is a related bread.

For what it's worth Ulm has a Brotmuseum that is quite interesting, evidently there are clues about what sort of bread was being made in that area in Roman times, and some of it was very fanciful, weird spikey pretzel things.
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Re: My first braided bread

Postby Howie Hart » Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:40 pm

Interesting, Frank - never heard of Zopf. Actually, the loaf in the photograph was a practice loaf of "St. Joseph Day" bread (March 19). I was invited to a St. Joseph Day dinner this past Sunday and was asked to bring a loaf, based on a recipe. It's a traditional Italian meatless family dinner. The recipe called for AP flour, shortening and oil and the loaf in the picture was that recipe. I wasn't crazy about the texture or the mouthfeel, so for the event I used 2 parts bread flour and 1 part Tipo 00, butter and EVOO. I also topped it with sesame seeds, but forgot to take a picture of that loaf. I liked it much better. I also made a thick crust white pizza with EVOO, Romano cheese, onions, garlic, fresh basil, sliced tomatoes, anchovies and mozzarella. There was a lot of really good food there - salads, calamari, pasta with sardines, mini omelets with dandelion greens, battered veggies, etc. and a bunch of killer desserts. This was the first time I had ever been to a St. Joseph Day dinner. Lots of fun.
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Re: My first braided bread

Postby Jenise » Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:34 pm

Cynthia Wenslow wrote:having that houseful of boy children didn't give you much practice with braiding!


Astute and funny observation!
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Re: My first braided bread

Postby Howie Hart » Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:17 am

StJoeBread 001.JPG
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I thought I'd bump this. I made it last year and the year before for St. Joseph's Day and thought I'd post the recipe. This is the one I made today.
St. Joseph's Day Bread

Ingredients
• 1 1/2 cups of warm water
• 2 packages of dry yeast (2 tablespoons)
• 2 tablespoons of shortening (1-1/2 tablespoons butter, softened)
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon oil (1-1/2 tablespoons EVOO)
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 4 1/2 cups flour (I used bread flour)
• 1/4 cup sesame seeds
• 1 egg, slightly beaten (add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon water)

Preparation
Combine in a bowl the warm water, yeast, shortening, sugar, oil and salt. Let this sit for 5 minutes. In a mixing bowl put 2 1/2 cups of flour and add the yeast mixture. Beat together until all ingredients are completely blended. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a dough. Turn dough onto a floured board. Knead in more of the flour to form a stiff and smooth dough. Shape it into a ball. (Or mix dough ingredients in bread machine on "dough" setting.) Place it in a greased bowl, cover and let it rise in a warm draft free location until dough doubles in size. Punch dough down and divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Roll each piece of dough into a 12-inch long rope. Take 3 of the ropes and braid together to form a long braid, you will get 2 loafs of bread. Place on a greased baking sheet (parchment paper), cover and let rise in a warm draft free location until double in size. Brush top with beaten egg, sprinkle lightly with sesame seeds and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cooking sheets and cool on wire racks.
Last edited by Howie Hart on Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My first braided bread

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:52 am

Geez, I just had dinner and now I'm hungry again.

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Re: My first braided bread

Postby Shaji M » Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:33 am

Niiiiice...
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Re: My first braided bread

Postby Jenise » Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:56 pm

That is seriously beautiful--master baker kind of work. I'll bet it makes great toast (she said, hungry, no breakfast yet).
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Re: My first braided bread

Postby Jo Ann Henderson » Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:51 pm

Well done, Howie - look at you!! :D
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Re: My first braided bread

Postby Peter May » Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:05 am

wow, Howie! That looks (almost) too good to eat!
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Re: My first braided bread

Postby Howie Hart » Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:29 am

Thanks, everyone. :)
The original recipe I obtained from: http://www.italiansrus.com/recipes/stjoebread.htm. I edited the posted recipe to show my modifications in italics. I will be making 2 more loaves of this tomorrow, as Mary Jo and I are invited to 2 more St. Joseph Day tables. That makes 3 this year and only 2 corned beef & cabbage dinners. :?
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Re: My first braided bread

Postby Christina Georgina » Sat Mar 22, 2014 12:03 pm

I would say that practice makes perfect. You've nailed it !
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