Experimenting with a Savory Braid
We're having fun on the farm! With the Mother's Day picnic coming up I decided to bake my own version of a filled braid. I admired the fruit filled braids and loved Floyd's suggestion that a savory filling with a different dough would be good. A search of the BBA formulas led me to use Pain de Campagne because it is said to be suited to shaped loaves; never disappoints. I followed Reinhart's steps with the exception that I used an overnight retarding of the dough after the first partial rise to better fit my schedule. I knew that this dough was going to have to stand up to some serious handling and honestly, I had my doubts.
Today I proceeded with Floyd's excellent instructions, dividing my dough in half to make two braids. Rolling it out to about a 3/8 inch thickness required letting the dough rest a bit with the rolling pin anchoring the corners to achieve the pan sized rectangle. My silicon baking sheet was helpful; I was able to handle the dough a little less when transferring it to the pans. I lined two baking pans with oil sprayed parchment and sprinkled a little rice flour where the braid would rest. Scissors worked well to make the inch wide angled strips. The short sides on my pans did not allow enough room to cut with the scraper. The dough with filling looked like this-
For this braid I used part cream cheese, part grated parmesan with one tablespoon of the egg wash mixture per Floyd's example. On top of that, sauteed Italian sausage, mushrooms and sweet peppers with garlic and herbs, salt and pepper. The other braid is filled with caramelized onion and sauteed mushroom on cream cheese with s and p. They get two applications of egg wash, the last one just before baking. The criss-cross fold works for me just like it works for Floyd. Wonder of wonders, in spite of lots of handling, the dough rose up puffy in about an hour and a half! Floyd and I agreed that the oven temperature should most likely be 450 degrees as required for the Pain de Campagne. I baked one braid at a time for 20 minutes.
Mushroom Onion Braid
This is really a fun baking, yields an impressive product and will adapt to limitless tasty fillings. I strongly recommend the ultra-reliable BBA Pain de Campagne formula for shaped breads.