Thursday, October 16, 2014

World Bread Day 2014 - Aniseed Braid

It's been exactly two years this month since I started baking our bread. No more chemical-laden store bread. Of course, I had to practice a lot. The road from "door knob" to edible/soft/fluffy bread was not an easy one and there are no shortcuts, however, the reward for perseverance is there, waiting for you, every time you bake a successful loaf of bread. I still beam with pride every time I bake a perfect loaf of bread :o)

A slice of billowy soft enriched bread with licorice-y aroma. Yum!

In support of World Bread Day 2014, an event to "honor our daily" bread, hosted by Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka kochtopf, I contribute this Aniseed Braid. I served it with a homemade Minestrone soup, slathered with butter. It was a big hit with my guests.

World Bread Day 2014 (submit your loaf on October 16, 2014)

The recipe I used for this bread comes from the book Warm Bread and Honey Cake, by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra. I have baked a few other recipes from this book, which also turned out great! Gaitri currently lives in my native country, The Netherlands. She's a really nice and warm person, based on many Facebook conversations I've had with her. She's always willing to help and offer advice, even to someone like me, the Queen of Substitutions (I must be cookbook authors' worst nightmare, haha).

When I had mentioned to her that I was planning on making her Aniseed Braid, she told me that that was one of her childhood favorite breads to eat. Now I can see why. This bread is so aromatic  from the anise seeds, and the texture so light and soft. It pairs up well with a bowl of homemade Minestrone soup but also does well underneath a thick layer of room temperature butter.

Gaitri was kind enough to give me permission to share this recipe with you on my blog. I made a few tweaks (told ya) to the original recipe which you can find on Gaitri's blog. She also shared a few other recipes on her blog that you might want to check out.

Some of my step-by-step pictures:

The kneading cycle of the bread machine has finished

At the end of the Dough Cycle (an hour after the kneading finished)

After an overnight stay in the fridge, the dough had risen beautifully

Braided dough, ready for its final rise

The final has finished. Ready for the oven!

Golden brown deliciousness!

Ah, we can finally taste it. Look at that beautiful interior.

You can never have too much butter on bread. Bon appetit!

Final thoughts/tips:

  • Everybody loved this bread. The beautiful braid made a really nice impression on my guests. However, it was quickly trumped by the bread's taste and light texture, and it's licorice-y aroma from the anise seeds.
  • I loved the bread as well. The texture was very brioche-like, very soft and fluffy, without an overload of butter and eggs. Definitely on my make-again (and again) list!
  • This recipe makes a very large loaf, so we had some leftovers. I sliced the rest of the loaf and froze it, wrapped in plastic wrap. We just finished the last slices. Just as good as the first slice.
  • My changes: reduced the flour a bit to get a softer dough, used less yeast and retarded the dough in the fridge overnight. Also used less yeast, less salt and less butter.

Aniseed Braid

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/8 cups cold milk
  • 0.5 oz butter (1 Tbsp), melted and cooled
  • 0.5 oz vegetable oil (1 Tbsp)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp whole anise seeds, bruised
  • 16 oz bread flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch of ground mace (optional)
Put all these ingredients in the bread machine and run the Dough Cycle. Refrigerate the dough in an lightly oiled container and cover overnight. Let the dough come to room temperature slightly and divide into three equal pieces of about 10 oz each (~275 grams).

Please follow the instructions for braiding, the final rise and the baking steps on Gaitri's blog.

6 comments:

  1. That sounds wonderful! I like anise flavor in breads. Funny, the crumb looks just like the Pane Siciliano I posted for the WBD. I'm sure the cold fermentation enhanced the flavor, I will definitely try this (and thanks for the link, I'll check her blog out).
    We could have built a house together, Hanaâ, with my early "brick production" and your "door knobs" :)

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    1. Ha ha. We sure could have built a few houses together :o) I will definitely try your Pane Siciliano.

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  2. Yes, it's the best to bake your own bread! And this loaf looks awesome, so fluffy love it! Thank you for participating in World Bread Day 2014!

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    1. Thanks Zorra! And thank YOU for organizing World Bread Day every year!!!

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