This was the first time I tried braiding bread !! I have braided my hair, myself, almost all thru my school life, but when it came to braiding with these strips of dough, it was surprisingly confusing ! I guess I was so used to doing it with my hands behind my head, that with these in front, it was actually confusing !!
This bread had a lovely flavour, and we had it with some pasta for dinner..
Here's a little story behind this...I received a parcel that had some dried active yeast...
The first time I read about Arusuvai,(a friendship chain between food bloggers in India) was on Miri's blog...
This was a really nice concept that was started off by Lathamma, Bharathy and Srivalli.
It was all about sending a 'secret' ingredient to another blogger, who then figured what it was and made something with it, and then in turn, sent some other secret ingredient to other bloggers. It was like a chain that carried on for a while between a lot of food bloggers in India.
Honestly, I felt quite sorry for myself, since I never was part of this chain. I was just about getting active with blogging then..
Thankfully, Sayantani of A Homemaker's Diary has now revived this chain with Arusuvai Season II and I was more than happy about it and signed up rightaway.
I waited (impatiently) for my parcel to arrive. There's something about the words 'secret / surprise', that brought back the child-like eagerness, to wait for the parcel
I got mine from Veena of Kitchen Celebrations, and it was a packet of yeast with a cute little card, a mixing bowl and 2 fruit bowls...I was really happy to see this big box waiting for me...
Thank you Veena, for these lovely gifts..
I have baked bread before, but wanted to try this braiding, and this was a fun experiment ! Sending this to Yeastspotting
Recipe Adapted from the book 'Baking', By Martha Day
What you need -
3.5 cups flour (I used 2.5 cups wheat flour and the rest maida/AP flour)
1.5 tsp yeast
1.5 tsp sugar
1 - 1.5 cups warm water
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
2 tbsp chopped sun dried tomatoes
2 tbsp pesto (I used basil-almond pesto, on the lines of this one)
1 tsp coarse sea-salt
What you do with it -
Take one cup of the warm water and pour into a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast granules over it. Add sugar and mix well. Leave aside for 10-15 mins
Once you see the yeast getting all frothy, you know you are ready to go with the next step
Put the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper.
Make a well in the centre and add pour in the yeast mixture
Add the chopped sun dried tomatoes and the pesto
Gradually mix in the flour to make a soft dough. Add more warm water if required
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead well for 5 mins, till is is smooth and elastic
Return to a clean bowl and cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for about 2 hours, till it doubles in volume
Grease a baking sheet and set aside
Once the dough is all risen, transfer to a floured surface and knead again for a few minutes. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and roll to form 3 sausage shape pieces
Dampen the end of the three pieces, press down at one end and then loosely braid it. Dampen the other ends and press together to complete the braid
Place on the baking sheet and cover with the damp cloth again for about 30 mins, till it has risen well
Preheat the oven to 220 deg C
Sprinkle the braid with coarse sea salt
Bake for 10 mins and then lower the temp to 200 and bake for a further 15-20 mins
Cool on a rack and enjoy with a salad, soup or pasta