Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Golden Sesame Braid

There's something about homemade bread. I love it. I don't think I'd love making it as much if I didn't have my breadmaker. I love that thing. I dump all the ingredients in and put it on the dough setting. One hour and thirty minutes later, I have the perfect dough. An added bonus of homemade bread is the smell that wafts through the house while it is baking. Unfortunately, I didn't get to taste this bread since I gave it away for an auction tonight. It seemed perfect though. The outside was soft, and you could tell the inside was all tender just by poking the outside of it. I'll have to ask the girl that got it how it turned out on the inside. I am going to make this bread again in the very near future though, so you'll get a second opinion on it. When I took it out, my daughter wanted to try some. I told her I was giving it away for an auction. She said, "Well, mom, you can just break off a little piece and then take it!" As tempting as it was, I left it in one piece. I got this recipe from Taste of Home... of course. If I haven't convinced my readers to go out and buy a Taste of Home cookbook yet, I am a failure. They seriously are the best cookbooks you can buy. I love their recipes.

Golden Sesame Braid:
adapted from Taste of Home Baking Book

1 pkg active dry yeast (2 1/4 t yeast)
1/4 c warm water
3/4 c warm milk
2 T shortening
2 T sugar
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 eggs
3 1/2 to 4 c flour

1/2 egg
1 1/2 t cold water
1 T sesame seeds

Heat the water in the microwave to 110-115 degrees. Dissolve the yeast in the water. Heat the milk in the microwave to the same temperature. If you don't have a candy thermometer, the water and milk should be pretty warm to the touch- if it is so hot that you can't put your finger in there. It is too hot. It will kill the yeast. I like to think of it as jacuzzi water. However, do not get water from your jacuzzi. I'm pretty sure there will be some sanitary issues there.

Pour the water and milk into the bread machine. Add the shortening, sugar, salt, eggs, and 2 c flour. For the 1 1/2 eggs, I put the first egg in the bread maker. For the second egg, I put it in a bowl, whisked it a bit, and poured half of it in the bread maker. Reserve the other half for brushing the top before baking.

Turn the bread maker to the dough setting and let it mix for a few minutes. Add the rest of the flour (1 1/2 to 2 cups). Let the bread maker work its magic. After 90 minutes, you'll have this:

Oh, it is beautiful! I'm telling you... if you don't have a bread maker, ask for one for Christmas. It's totally worth it. Dump the dough out and divide it into three sections. Roll them into 15 inch ropes.
Put the ropes together and pinch the ends. Tuck it under.
Braid the bread. If you don't know how to braid, I don't know how to explain it. You can always go get a Barbie doll and practice until you have something like what the picture looks like- although I doubt the Barbie's hair will be made of dough, so it won't be completely similar.
Place the dough on a greased cookie sheet. I prefer to use cornmeal sprinkled on a cookie sheet instead of the cooking spray. You can also use parchment paper.

Place the braid in a warm spot and let it rise until it's doubled in size. It took about 40-45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 when it's almost done.

Combine the egg and water and brush it over the braid. Be very gentle! If you get too crazy, the dough will collapse. :( Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. There you are! One beautiful, golden, sesame loaf.
This would be a great addition to any meal or holiday dinner. It's simple but elegant all at the same time. Slice it up and serve it with butter. Mmm....

*I remade this today, and although I forgot to brush it with egg and sprinkle sesame seeds on it, it turned out delicious. Sure enough, the inside was tender and the texture was great. :)

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