The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Braided Bread

blueboy2419's picture

Braided Bread

First post, be gentle with me.


Today I tried my first braided bread. Although the finished loaf tastes fantastic (modest I know) it did not look like I intended. Immediately after the braiding it looked fine but after the final proofing the braids had almost completely disappeared.

For info, the loaf is flavoured with crsipy bacon & caramelised onion, both fried off beforehand and added to the dough just before shaping. The dough is 60% strong white and 40% spelt and I pre-fermented some of the white flour for a few hours before adding it to the rest. Egg wash & sesame seeds applied just before putting in the oven

I'm thinking that either the dough was too wet or I didn't do enough folding before making the strands to braid. I think things might also have been improved if I had given the dough a little side support while proofing so that it didn't spread so much.

Has anybody got advice on how I can get a little more definition in the braiding?


dabrownman's picture

and the spelt, bacon and caramelized onions means that it has to taste great.  So I give it a A -.

Braiding has much to do with developing the gluten well without too high a hydration so it doen't spread and meld back into itself when proofing - like spelt likes to do anyway.  Were you using a recipe for a bread that was supposed to be braided?

Happy baking

blueboy2419's picture

Hey, thanks for the reply.

I wasn't following a recipe really, just trying to put something together from my own imagination. I'd tried the combination of bacon & onion before in a fougasse and really liked it. I'd also tried a plain boule with 50/50 spelt/strong white and liked the nutty taste.

I figured I'd try combining it all together but change the proportion of spelt. I'd always liked the look of a braided loaf so thought I'd give it a go.

Seems the flour mix coupled with the wetness didn't lend itself to well to being plaited, but at least it tasted nice !

I might give it another go next week, maybe using some Rye?


Doc.Dough's picture

A couple of suggestions:

Read up on braiding in Hamelman's Bread.  Try a four strand braid to get a little more definition to the loaf.

Roll out your strands after weighing them to be exactly the same.

Always pre-chill the dough before rolling it out and braiding - it needs to be cold to stand up to handling.

Proof warm and wait, wait, wait to put it in the oven (but don't overproof). Underproofing will cause it to rip itself apart in the oven.


blueboy2419's picture

Thanks Doc.

Had a look at the book on Amazon, fortunately the bit on braiding was available on the "look inside" feature. Some good tips especially about forming the strands. Next time should be better.