Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Eight-strand plaited loaf and some buns

Tried a hand at making bread.  Especially since S had recorded a few episodes of The Great British Bake Off and Paul Hollywood whose recipe this is, is quite good looking !  I did a good job at preparing the dough but when it came to the actual braiding of the dough I was a total mess, and then S took over, and made a pretty good one.  Her first attempt !  So all the loaf pictures are of her effort.

The recipe as it appears on the BBC food recipes site.


  • Strong bread flour - 500g
  • Fast action dried yeast - 7 g
  • Salt - 10 g
  • Olive oil - 2 tbsp
  • extra flour for dusting
  • sunflower oil for greasing bowl
  • Egg - 1 beaten lightly with a pinch of salt and milk/water - to serve as egg wash

    Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the yeast on one side of the bowl and add the salt on the other side. Salt should not be placed on top of the yeast, as it can kill it and make in in-active.

    Add a good splash of olive oil to the flour
    Measure out 340ml slightly warm water and add three-quarters to the flour mixture, and mix together by hand, then add the rest of the liquid.
    Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead by hand until the dough looks silky and stretchy. This will take approximately 10 minutes. Use very little flour and more of oil on work surface.  Use the palm of your hands to knead.

    Oil a medium sized mixing bowl and place the dough into the bowl. 
    The dough should be smooth and shiny ( because of the oil )
    Cover with cling film and set aside to rise, for about an hour, or until the dough doubles in size.

    When risen, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead, to knock the dough back. Shape the dough into a rectangular rod and divide into eight equal parts. 

    Roll out each piece into a strand about 40cm/16in long.
    Lay the strands out on the lightly floured surface like an octopus, fanned out from a central point at the top. Stick all the ends at the central point to the table with your thumb.

    Braiding sequence:

    Number the strands of dough from 1-8 from left to right.
    Every time you move any strand it will take the new number of its position in the row.
    Step 1: place 8 under 7 and over 1 ( This step only occurs once and is never repeated)

    Step 2: place 8 over 5 
    Step 3: place 2 under 3 and over 8 
    Step 4: place 1 over 4 
    Step 5: place 7 under 6 and over 1 

    Repeats step 2-5, until all the dough is braided.
    Tuck both ends of the loaf underneath to give a tidy finish.

    Place the plaited dough onto a floured baking tray, and leave to prove for another hour, until risen again.

    Preheat the oven to 200C/375F/Gas 5.
    Brush the loaf with the beaten egg wash and bake in the oven for 20-25mins.

    The crust should be golden.  And when you tap the surface it will be hard.  Tap the bottom and it should sound hollow. 
    And allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before you attack !

    For someone attempting this the first time, use only half the amount.  The plaits are easier to work on rather than very long ones.
    Be generous with the olive oil.  It helps in the braiding process also.
    Use less flour.
    To divide into 8 equal portions.  Roll out into a rectangular shape of even thickness.  Divide into two. Divide each half further into two and another two.  You will get eight equal parts.

    Since the braiding sequence was done only to half the dough, we were left with more.  These were made into eight equal round portions and placed side to side ( touching) on the tray.  After proofing they were baked along with the loaf and we had 8 rolls.  These were not the buttery soft rolls, but good enough !

    Enjoy !


  1. Bread has come out very well.. Braids look perfect.. Lovely!!

  2. wow this looks amazing!!i havent baked bread in sometime feeling tempted looking at urs.

  3. Lovely bread ! Hats off to you I would have entangled myself with the strands

  4. perfectly done.. neat presentation..

  5. wow radha. looks like quite a task and they look good. :)

    Thanks for the comment on my focaccia bread - do try and let me know if you like it. Happy baking :)

  6. wow radha! this seems like quite a task and they look really nice. :)

    thanks for you comment on my focaccia bread - do try it and hope you like it , Happy baking :)

  7. beautifully baked dear.,.yummy!

  8. Wow..that's an super looking loaf...

  9. Wonderfully baked! Love the 8 strands plaited loaf... Perfect!

  10. Wow, bread looks beautiful dear..

  11. recently started following your blog!! I had to comment on the beauty of this bread! Good Job!! :)


  12. Beautiful bread, love homemade bread always.

  13. Oh my, your braided bread looks PERFECT! I'd be so afraid of messing up the design. And it looks tasty, all light and fluffy inside. Yum yum!


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