French Bread Braids

I’m somewhat “braid-challenged”, but the photo of these French bread loaves looked so pretty, I had to try them.  The dough was easy to handle, and they are inexpensive to make – they only cost me 88¢ for both loaves!  I do buy yeast in 1# bags, which cuts the cost.  The loaves weighed about a pound each, baked.
I plan to use one loaf for French bread pizza, half of one for roast beef sandwiches, and the remainder for garlic bread.
   French Bread Braids
  4 ¾- 5 ¾  cups  flour, all-purpose (1#  6 1/2 oz)
  1    tablespoon  sugar
  3    teaspoons  salt
  2    packages  instant yeast (4 teaspoons)
  2    cups  water  - heat to 120-125°
  2    tablespoons  shortening (1 ounce)
  1    tablespoon  water
  1    large  egg -- white
Grease cookie sheets (I used parchment paper).
Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. (Or weigh flour into mixer bowl, remove and set aside 1 cup.)
In large bowl, combine 3 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast; mix well.  In small saucepan, heat 2 cups water and shortening until very warm 120-125°.
Add warm liquid to flour mixture.  With paddle attachment blend until moistened.  Add remaining flour.   Change to dough hook.  Knead for 6 minutes.
Cover and let rest about 10 minutes.
Punch down, divide dough in half; divide each half into 3 equal parts (about 6 ½ ounces each).  Roll each part into 14" rope; place 3 ropes side by side on each greased cookie sheet.  Braid 3 ropes loosely from center to each end.  Pinch ends together; tuck under to seal.  Repeat with remaining dough.
In small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of water with egg white, beat slightly.  Carefully brush over loaves (save the mixture).  Cover lightly with greased wax paper or plastic wrap, then a cloth towel.  Let rise until light and about doubles, 15-20 minutes.  Brush again lightly with egg white mixture.
Bake at 357° for 25-30 minutes.  Cool immediately on wire racks.
 "Down Home Cooking and Baking p16-17"
  "Two 1 pound loaves"
Per Serving: 70 Calories; 1g Fat (13.3% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 6mg Cholesterol; 180mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.
I made French bread pizzas with one loaf and shared the other with Myrna for garlic bread.

4 comments:

  1. Those loaves look pretty good. I've been thinking about trying my hand at bread again, so I think I'll try out this recipe pretty soon... though I expect I'm probably also in the "braid challenged" category.

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  2. I say "Who cares what it looks like so long as it tastes good!"

    And I am betting it does! Lovely braids my dear!

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  3. You make it look so easy. I just may give this ah try.

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  4. Yep--French Bread Pizzas!!!

    This recipe would be perfect either as bread or as a base for pizza, and it's beautiful as well!

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