Recipe by Clare Bear
My family loves this bread -- it's light as a feather and the crust is incredibly crisp and flavorful! I make the dough in my bread machine, then braid it, and bake it in the oven.
Top Review by Mom of picky eaters and vegetarians
This was fantastic! I made this for our Easter/Spring celebration and it went fast! I didn't have any bread enhancer, potato flakes or wheat germ, so I left those out and put in a little extra whole wheat flour instead. I made two smaller simple braided loaves -- one with sesame seeds and one with poppy seeds -- and put the seeds on the bottom as well as the top (I did this by sprinkling the seeds on the baking sheet before I put on the loaves).
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon bread enhancer (optional)
- 3 tablespoons potato flakes
- 2 tablespoons wheat germ
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1⁄3 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 2⁄3 cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1 egg white
- sesame seeds or poppy seed, if desired
Directions See How It's Made
- Put ingredients in bread machine according to your manufacturer's directions and put on 'dough cycle.' Don't throw the egg white away -- you will use it to brush the loaf with later.
- Once the ingredients are mixed, check the consistency if you can. I usually let the machine pause for about 20 minutes for the 'autolyse'.
- You can make two smaller braids or one large one. I love a six-braided loaf! (Check some bread cookbooks for directions -- too difficult to explain how to braid into six pieces without pictures!) For a nice structure, divide into pieces, and then flatten each piece into a free--form rectangle about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick. Roll up each piece, and gently pull to elongate into ropes, and braid.
- Let rise about 45 minutes. Mix one egg white with 1 teaspoons water and brush over bread. Top with seeds, if desired. Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes, depending on the thickness of the loaf (loaves).
- To keep the crust crisp, store cut end down on a breadboard, not in a plastic bag.