Anyone who has watched the Great British Bake-Off will know how popular these bread plait loaves are, especially when our Paul makes them. Here, Tina demonstrates her own knack for braiding bread once the dough has been made, which of course you can use your breadmaker for if you wish.
If you prefer to mix the dough yourself, be sure to put plenty of flour on the table before you start to knead as this is a very sticky mixture. Also, after mixing the dough and letting it rise stretch it to establish good gluten strings in the dough as this helps with the plaiting. You don’t want the rolls of bread breaking as you form the braid, so put flour on your hands as you roll and stretch the dough before braiding.
Try this step-by-step recipe for making your own bread.
Ingredients for the Bread
- 675g/1½lb strong white flour, plus extra for flouring
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1½ tsp sugar
- 3 tsp easy-blend yeast
- 1½ tbsp virgin olive oil, plus extra for oiling
- 450ml/1 pint warm water
- 1 free-range egg, beatenpoppy seeds, for sprinkling
Method for making your Bread Plait
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Sprinkle over the sugar and the easy-blend yeast.
- Add the olive oil to the water. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in most of the water and olive oil mixture. Retain a bit of the liquid; you may need to add more later to get the right consistency.
- Stir with a wooden spoon and bring together to form a soft dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for ten minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place for approximately one hour to rise, until doubled in size.When the dough has risen, place it on a clean work surface and, with floured hands, knead it again to ‘knock it back’. Knead for about five minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Divide the dough into three equal pieces and roll to form three even ‘sausage’ shapes.
- Plait the three dough ‘sausages’ together to form a large loaf and place onto a lightly floured baking tray.
- Preheat the oven to 220C/400F/Gas. Cover the loaf and return to a warm place until it has risen to about one-and-a-half times its size. This will take between ten and 30 minutes.
- When the dough is ready to work, follow the video instructions for rolling out and forming your bread plait.
- Once the plait has been created, bake the loaf in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and bake for a further 30 minutes.
- The loaf is cooked when it is risen and golden and sounds hollow when tapped underneath.