You know when you pass by a bakery and you’re inclined to go inside because of the intoxicating aroma of freshly baked bread…that is one of the many reasons why you should bake bread at some point in your life! That same aroma, maybe even better, covers every inch of your home. And then of course, there’s the satisfying sensation of accomplishment..another reason :))
As intimidating as it may seem to bake really good bread, it’s not that hard, even if you don’t have experience in baking bread. Especially this bread! The braided herb bread!! If you know how to ‘braid’ and if you have a Kitchen Aid or any other stand-up mixer that comes with a hook attachment, this is one of the easiest breads to make. And to top it off, it tastes amazing, and it looks great too ;) so how many birds is that with one stone?? ;) Even if you don’t have a standup mixer, you can still bake this bread (or any other bread) but it will require a bit of manpower while you knead the dough.
I first saw this recipe on Life’s a Feast and the title alone was enough to make me want to reach through my screen and take a piece…as that was not possible, I did the next best thing…I tried it :))
So have fun…hum as Snow White does when she’s baking a pie, and try this…you won’t be sorry! :)
This recipe was adapted from Life’s a Feast’s Garlic Herb Braid: Homebaked Bread for the Holidays
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup water
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3½ - 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ Tablespoons instant yeast
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder (I couldn't find garlic powder so I used garlic salt)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Olive oil to brush top
- In a small saucepan, combine the heavy cream, water and olive oil and heat on low heat up to 120° - 130°F (50° - 54°C). If you don't have a kitchen thermometer, you can check the temperature on your wrist. It should be warm, not hot; slightly warmer than body temperature.
- In the bowl of a standup mixer fitted with a hook attachment, combine 1½ cups flour, yeast, sugar, thyme, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and salt.
- Add the egg.
- Add the warm heavy cream/water/oil mixture and stir with your hands or a wooden spoon until everything is mixed completely.
- Gradually add the remaining flour, kneading with the standup mixer (or your hands) until a soft non-sticky dough is formed.
- Continue kneading on high speed for 5 - 6 minutes.
- When the dough is ready, form into a ball; cover the bowl and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Divide the rested dough into three. Shape each dough piece into an 18 inch rope.
- Put all three side-by-side and pinch the edge where you will start the braid from.
- Tightly braid the dough until the end and pinch the dough; tuck both ends underneath.
- Cover with cling film and a towel and allow the bread to rise for about 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F).
- When ready, put the risen bread into the oven. Place a pan of water (1/2 inch of water) on the rack below the bread to keep the oven humid.
- Bake for about 30 - 40 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. Check the bottom of the bread to make sure it is golden brown as well.
- Remove from oven and generously brush the bread with olive oil.
- Allow to cool before slicing and serving.