Super soft Braided Garlic Bread

This November, in honor of National Novel Writer Month (www.nanowrimo.org/) I would like to return to my blog, Boomie’s Kitchen. I’d like to apologize to my readers–The time I’ve spent on hiatus has been too long. To celebrate this amazing writing project, I want to challenge myself to keep everyone as time permits. I will add an autobiography to my blog soon to explain my situation as an individual.

That being said, I’d like to note that I have remained faithful to my love and dedication for cooking and baking. This recipe I will be sharing today was originally from Becky Laparra’s Blog : http://nightpsalms.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/the-best-bread-recipe/. I’ve adapted her recipe and changed the technique a bit here and there. Each loaf is about 6 to 8 inches wide and about one and a half foot long.

Without a doubt this actually might be the best bread recipe I’ve ever made.  Last time I made 2 loaves, and 5 people devoured it! Hopefully that shows how popular this recipe is and I hope you all enjoy it as much as my friends did! This recipe is also special to me because I used it the first time I’ve made bread. Since then, I’ve repeated the wonderful results over 30 times in the span of 4 months. Over time, I’ve developed my own technique for creating the soft and tender bite this recipe gives.

All said, this recipe is NOT a standard “white bread” recipe. In fact, I doubt you’d be able to slice this bread (even if you bake it in a loaf pan) and pull of a grilled cheese without disrupting its delicate structure. This provides a soft, pull-me-apart like texture similar to Hawaiian sweet rolls.

Lets get started!

Makes: Two Loaves

Ingredients

  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 Tbls dry active yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 4-5 cups bread flour (but probably more like 6)

 Directions

Turn on your oven to the lowest temperature possible.

In a cup, add the yeast and sugar. Add the water and stir until the yeast is nearly completely dissolved. The water should be heated so that its very warm, but you should still be able to submerge your hands in the water without wanting to pull them out. If you aren’t sure, keep it on the cooler side. By heating the water up, the yeast becomes active faster. Let this stand for 5 to 10 minutes or until the top is frothy. In the mean while proceed as follows:

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine 4 cups of flour, salt, oil and spices. With the dough hook attachment, stir until the oil is absorbed by the flour. Slowly add the liquid-yeast mixture in on low. Continue to add the liquid until everything completely combined. At this point turn the speed up to 2 on a Kitchen Aid (or continue on low for any other stand mixer). Continue to knead the dough in the stand mixer until it is smooth and elastic. This should take no more than 5 minutes. Make sure you do not over knead or else your results will be tough. Slowly dust in flour 2 Tbsp at a time until the dough clears the sides and bottom of the bowl. Make sure you stop at intervals to pull the dough down from the dough hook and to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

One of the most common questions people have when they first start making bread is when to stop kneading. The best way is to dust your fingers with flour, pull a small piece off (the size of a marble) and try to stretch it as thin as possible. If the dough is fully kneaded, you should be able to hold up the stretched out dough and see the light shine through. You want something that looks like this:

At this point, take a large heat-safe bowl (at least two times the size of the dough), and oil the sides and the bottom. Put the dough in the bowl and turn it over a few times to evenly coat the dough with oil. Turn your oven off and set the bowl in the oven. Let the dough rise for an hour or until the dough has doubled.

Once your dough has doubled, turn it out onto a table and punch it down so that the bubbles are even distributed. Knead the dough a few times to redistribute the yeast. Split the dough in half and then into thirds. Stretch piece of dough out and braid 3 pieces of bread together. You should end up with two braided breads at this point. Let the bread rise on the pan you will baking it on for another 30 to 45 minutes, until the the dough has doubled again.

While you wait for the dough to rise, preheat your oven to 375 F. When the dough has doubled, bake the bread for 15 to 20 minutes until the top is browned.

I like to create a garlic butter sauce while the bread is baking. Simply add two minced cloves of garlic to 1/4 cup of melted butter and add 1 teaspoon of salt. When the bread is ready, bast it in this butter sauce and serve while still slightly doughy and soft at the center!

 Notes

Depending on the type of yeast you use, the order of directions you use will subsiquently change. This recipe uses Active Dry yeast. If you use instant or RapidRise yeast, directly add the yeast and sugar to the flour and proceed with adding the oil.

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3 thoughts on “Super soft Braided Garlic Bread

  1. I just tried this amazing bread. I am not a baker. In fact, I’ve only baked bread one other time in the last 5 years. This recipe is very easy. I could not find my oregano so I left it out and it tasted great. I’ll definitely be making this again with the addition of the oregano. It turned out very soft. I was able to easily slice it and those slices disappeared fast. Yum! Thanks for sharing.

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