As passionate as I am about my dinner, I feel the same about breakfast which is quite late in my case. I always start the day with a cup of green tea with freshly squeezed lemon as I don’t like to eat early in the morning but then after a couple hours my body needs some energy which I gladly deliver. Bread, fresh vegetables and fruit, my coffee of course, and some cheese. To me, it’s all about bread, dark or white, buns, croissant, during the week it’s a dense spelt loaf from my bakery most of the time but then on the weekend I love to bake my own bread. It’s the most relaxing and delicious way to end the week!
Where I grew up, I used to buy a brioche like loaf of bread, fluffy and sweet, a bit dark on the outside, sometimes made with raisons, it’s called Stuten or Blatz. It’s baked square shaped and best when cut into thick slices, spread with butter or, one of my favourites, with liver pâté. I never managed to bake a Stuten as good as the one I bought from my hometown’s bakery which unfortunately doesn’t even exist anymore. I’m still working on it!
For now, I enjoy a similar bread, in a different shape and made with a slightly different dough. The wonderful Challah! The braided yeast bread is just as sweet and fluffy, I eat it either with butter or liver pâté, or with one of my homemade jams, like the blood orange or tangerine marmalade.
The trees and flowers around have been bursting in the past days, I had to catch these moments and share it as I enjoy this beauty as much as a fresh and warm loaf out of my oven!
Sweet and Braided Yeast Bread
For one braided loaf of bread you need
plain flour 500g / 1 pound
dry yeast 1 sachet (7g / 0.25 ounce)
sugar 60g / 2 ounces
salt 1/2 teaspoon
butter, melted, 100g / 3.5 ounces
milk, lukewarm, 150ml
organic eggs 2
pearl sugar for sprinkling
organic egg yolk 1, for glazing
milk 1 tablespoon, for glazing
Combine the dry ingredients. Mix the hot melted butter with the cold milk and the 2 eggs, this way the liquid mixture will have the right lukewarm temperature (check with your finger). Mix the dry and the liquid mixture with your dough hooks for 5 minutes until well combined. Continue kneading with your hands for a few minutes until you have an elastic dough ball. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let the dough rise in a 35°C / 95°F warm oven for 70 minutes (I tried it for 60 minutes but the last 10 minutes make a big change). This works really well but make sure that your oven is set to top/ bottom heat and not to fan.
Take the dough out, punch it down and knead for 1 minute. Divide it into 3 pieces and roll them into long sausage shapes. Lay the ends of the rolls on top of each and start to braid them tightly. Bend both ends under the loaf and put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let it rise for 30 minutes, covered with a tea towel, in the warm oven.
Set your oven to 200°C / 390°F (top / bottom heat).
Whisk the egg yolk and milk for the glaze, brush the bread, sprinkle with pearl sugar and bake in the oven for 10 minutes before you turn it down to 180°C / 355°F and bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown.