This beautiful loaf is the traditional bread of Easter in Greece and many other Christian countries. It is an enriched dough that is twisted around brightly dyed eggs. The bread is often braided with three strands to represent the holy trinity, formed into a circle as a reference to life and the eggs are dyed red as a symbol of Christ’s blood. The dough is lightly sweet, flavored with orange zest and a traditional Middle Eastern spice called Mahlepi, which is made from ground cherry pits. The spice can be found in Middle Eastern or Greek markets. If you don’t have the spice, you can make the dough with ground Anise seed or even Cardamom. Continue reading
September is the month of the Jewish high holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This Six-Strand Braided Challah, using our five minute dough, is a beautiful and festive way to celebrate. Traditionally for Rosh Hashanah we bake the bread in the shape of a ring studded with raisins, but if you serve any of our delicious challahs you will do the holidays justice.
Braiding six strands takes a bit of technique, but once you have the rhythm the braid goes together quickly and easily. Keep in mind that you are only working with one strand at a time, so there is no juggling to do. You want to be sure to keep your hands and work surface well floured so the strands don’t become sticky as you work.
(This is a post that first appeared in 2009 – we hope it is fresh for some and a welcome memory for others!)
“Hot cross buns, hot cross buns, everybody loves hot cross buns!” are the words to the children’s song and it is so true. I made these buns at the request of many of you and my kids devoured them within minutes. They are the buns traditionally served at Easter time. A sweet dough, spiced, studded with dried (sometimes candied) fruit and decorated with a cross made of icing.
As I researched these delicious buns I realized that there are as many ways to make them as there are families who bake them. Some people slash the dough to make the cross, others use a flour and water paste to create the symbol and others use the sweet icing. Tell me how you make your buns, and if you don’t have a family tradition yet, you can start with these!
(color photo above by Mark Luinenburg) An interviewer recently asked me, “what’s new in your pizza & flatbread book that you didn’t already cover in “Artisan Bread…” and in “Healthy Bread…”? My answer: A lot! Like how ’bout this Braided Challah Flatbread that requires zero resting time before it goes into the oven? Braided enriched loaves like these are integral parts of many holiday traditions– Finnish Pulla, Swedish St. Lucia’s Bread, Jewish Sabbath bread, and others. So this busy holiday season, you can be ready with super-fast festive loaves like these. Detailed photos ahead… Continue reading
Our new book has a terrific braided challah with whole wheat and wheat germ, and I’ve been playing with a variation that includes cranberries and orange zest. This same challah recipe lends itself to many other holiday traditions as well, forming the basis in our book for Scandinavian Christmas breads like Pulla and Julekage. It’s really just a lightly enriched yeast dough that is very, very versatile. The recipe… Continue reading