When we drove through snow- rain to meet with the family on Easter Sunday, I mused if todays Easter weather was colder then on Christmas Eve or not. But good weather or not we had a broad mixture of rolls and a greek easter braid with us.
The idea of baking tsoureki I had in mind since a readers question last year. And so I did some research and found the braid in many different forms and different ratios of ingredients. But two ingredients were a stable: Mastix and Mahlep.
Mastix is the resin of the pistachios tree, while mahlep are cherry pits form Prunus mahaleb. While grinding the spices to powder I realized that mahlep has an similar aroma than tonka beans: almond like and very delicious. As always, the flavours of a spiced bread are depending more on the spices then on the aroma of the preferment. But using a preferment is useful anyway, as it helps to strengthens the gluten network as well as improves the shelf life.
We enjoyed this greek Easter Bread with its fluffy crumb and almond like flavours very much.
I like to eat some “Zopf” (or Challah or some other kind of soft braided bread), especially for breakfast on sunday. In the last year I often baked Schwiss Butterbraid. I like it very much but for the most people who grow up in Germany this kind of bread has to be sweet while the swiss version is not sweet. And for those with a sweet tooth I baked this sunday braid. It is so delicious, that I baked it for the goodbye breakfast of a colleague again. And each time I bake it I’m thrilled because of its buttery, sweet flavour and the soft crumb.
A big portion of cream makes the crumb incredible soft and fluffy. And the advantage of cream instead of butter is that the dough (or the shaped bread) rise well in the fridge. With higher butter amounts I made the experience that the butter hardens in the cold and so hinder the dough to rise proberly. And for forming the dough ít is necessary to keep it in the fridge for at least one hour. But then braiding will be easy.
For a good flavour and good oven spring I included my sweet starter in the recipe. If you don’t have one, you can use instead some Lievito madre or a Biga, which rise overnight in the fridge.
I hope, you all had a good start into the new year!
We spent our new year’s eve very quite with hot tea instead of sparkling wine because I had to fetch a bad cold – but that’s a kind of unforgettable new year’s eve, too 😉
But (and that should proof once again that I’m crazy) I decided to ignore the fever for a while because I can not start a new year without a homebaked new year’s pretzel! And so I take out a leftover sweet starter I kept in the fridge for 5 days. The Starter didn’t mind the time spend in the cold and tripled in size after feeding in only three hours! I then mixed the dough and trusted the sweet starter once again to be enough for a proper rise. The longer time it need to for rising and proofing was perfect for me so I could sleep in between 😉 If you want to speed up the recipe, at a little bit of yeast. Or make half of the recipe of the swiss butter braid instead, which yields a great bread, too.
The pretzel is very delicous, with a soft crust and a fluffy crumb, just the prefect way to welcome 2014!
Jutta likes braided breads very much, just like me. And when she blogged her 12-stranded Braid I knew immediately that I had to bake such a braid, too. I bake already some braids in the last years, braids made with one Strand, two, three, four, six or even with eight strands. So it was time to increase the difficulty level!
I watched the Videos Jutta linked and realized that it was not as difficult as I feared. The braiding needs just a lot of concentration.
And so I braided bread on Sunday morning, doing three smaller braids at once. After I finished the first, braiding the remaining two was not so hard to do. Making 36 small strands for three braids was much more annoying.
Divide the dough into pieces of 85g each. Roll them into strands of about 45 cm (1). Now form with 2/3 of the strand loop, while the other 1/3 of the strand remains free(2). Pull the free strand through the loop (3), then twist the loop (4) and tuck the free end into the remaining opening of the loop (5).
A slice of fluffy soft Zopf with some homemade marmelade and a big cup of café au lait – is there a better way to start a sunday morning?
For some days there was an idea floating through my brain of a braided bread made with curd. And last weekend I finally put this idea into practice and baked a two stranded braid. Like in most of my Braid-Recipes I used a Pâte Fermentée, because this adds aroma and structure to the bread. And the curd adds a slightly sure taste and makes the crumb niecly soft.
Zorra post here about a bread flavoured with amaretto. What a nice idea, but I do not have amaretto in my pantry but homemade orange liquor. First I thought about baking brioche with it but then I decided to make a leaner recipe. So I make some small changes in this Challah recipe. I reduced the amount of oil a little bit and added liquor to the formula. And because I had not so much orange liquor left I added also some orange flavoured oil. The resulting bread has a fine orange taste, but its a mild flavour, so even my boyfriend like it. If I would bake it just for myself, I would prefer a stronger orange taste. Continue reading →
Wenn I bake a sweet Zopf for breakfast on sunday, I use normally milk in the dough. But these weekend I needed a dairy free bread, so I had to modify my recipe. I use these Challah recipe and replace milk and butter with water and oil and increase the amount of egg while I degrease the sugar amount.
The dough was soft but very easy to work with, so making a six stranded braid was easy. Braiding a six strand gets easier every time I do it. I still have to murmur the direction to me (second one left to the far right, left to the middle …) but I am getting faster. Continue reading →