Braiding bread dough is fun and easy to do. If you can braid hair, you can braid bread. If you can't braid hair, then braiding bread is a great way to learn how to braid hair.
Kids can practice their braiding skills by braiding strands of dough. These easy instructions include a bread dough recipe you can use to make a braided bread, or you can use a dough recipe of your own choosing.
This three-strand braiding method starts the braid at the center of the bread. The dough is braided from the center to one end, and then from the center again to the other end. This technique leads to an evenly braided braid.
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Making the Bread Dough
Here is a simple white bread recipe for one 1/2 pound braided loaf or you can use the bread dough recipe of your choice.
1/4 cup water, room temperature
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup milk, room temperature
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups bread flour
In a medium bowl, mix water and yeast. Add milk, butter, honey, and salt. Stir. Add 2 cups of flour and mix well. Slowly add remaining flour, enough flour to make a dough that follows the spoon around the bowl. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 4 minutes, adding more flour as needed until the dough is soft and smooth to the touch. Place dough in a medium greased bowl. Turn dough over in the bowl so that the top is also lightly greased. Cover with a clean cloth and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
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Punch down the dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 4 minutes or until the bubbles are out of the bread.
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Form Dough Into Ropes
Punch down the dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 4 minutes or until the bubbles are out of the bread. Divide the dough into three equal pieces.
Roll each of the three pieces of dough between your hands, making three ropes, about 12 to 15 inches long. The best way to make a rope is to flatten the piece of dough first, then fold over the sides, and seal the seam with your fingertips. Then roll the rope on board like you would a piece of Play-Doh. The folding and rolling technique gives structure to each rope, so the bread will be supported internally as it rises and bakes.
Line the ropes side-by-side on the floured board.
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Begin Braid at Center
With the three ropes lined up, begin the braid at the center of the ropes. Braid loosely from center to end.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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Pinch and Tuck
Braid loosely from center to end. Pinch and tuck the end under.
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Finish the Braid
Turn the breadboard around and repeat braiding loosely from the center to end. Pinch and tuck the end under.
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Set the braided loaf on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
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Bake the loaf at 350 F for 35 to 40 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. Remove the loaf from the cooking sheet and let it cool on a rack.