Saturday, April 2, 2011

Braided Italian Walnut Bread

A braided bread is very simple to make. Simply divide the dough into three equal pieces and braid it together like the picture shown. Use your favorite bread recipe and enjoy!

2 1/2 cups warm water (110 - 115 degrees F.)
3 Tb SAF instant yeast
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1 Tb Soy Lecithin
1 Tb salt
about 6 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1.  Pour warm water, honey, olive oil, soy lethicin and yeast into the Bosch mixing bowl.
2.  Pour 3 cups of freshly ground whole wheat flour over wet ingredients. (Nutrimill Home Grain Mill is an excellent grain mill if you are interested in grinding your own grain.)
3.  Cover and mix on level 1 in the Bosch mixer for 1 minute
4.  Add salt and continue mixing on level 1
5. Add flour while mixing on level 1 - about 1/2 cup at a time until the dough does not stick to the sides of the bowl and looks like the right texture
6. Once the right amount of flour has been added, cover and turn the Bosch mixer to level 2 and mix for 6 minutes
7. When the 6 minutes is up, pour a small puddle of canola or olive oil on your work surface, remove the dough from the mixer and knead dough 3-4 times on the oiled surface.
8.  Then separate the dough into two  loaves. Pound them each on the table a few times to remove air bubbles. Then separate each loaf into three pieces, roll then to about 10 inch "snakes." Roll two of the snakes in walnuts to cover the outside. Then braid the three pieces together. Do this for each loaf. 
9.  Allow loaves to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees during this time.
10.  Once dough has risen, bake for about 30 minutes, till golden brown and a hollow sound when you knock on the top of each loaf. 

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