Braided Onion Bread

One among my first reminiscences associated to baking was an illustration performed at my kindergarten the place bread dough was formed into turtles, and birds, and elaborate braids. Scissors have been used to create the tiny bread spikes on the backs of alligator and hedgehog-shaped loaves. Lobster claws received a snip up the middle for visible impact and every determine was positioned in an oven till puffy, golden, and aromatic. We have been every allowed to take one house. The entire expertise blew my 5 year-old thoughts.

I nonetheless prefer to bake elaborate braided loaves. Particularly when issues in my life are tumultuous. I made this one a few instances previous to the vacations, and determined to make it once more final week to {photograph} and share with you. It is made with a wealthy, buttery, yeast-based dough. Every of the 4 strands within the braid is full of a caramelized onion and grated cheese combination. In the event you’ve by no means baked a braided loaf earlier than, I will admit that stuffing the strands provides a layer of complexity, however the entire course of is extremely forgiving in case you commit and hold going. In the event you have a look at the form beneath and assume “no approach” simply keep in mind it is a easy braid coiled right into a snail form. 
Braided Onion Bread Prior to Baking

The (Stuffed) Braided Bread Course of

To make this bread you begin by making lovely yeast dough. You roll your dough right into a rectangle, minimize that rectangle into 4 strips, after which stuff every strand with awesomeness. I often put together the stuffing a day forward of time, or the morning of the day I plan on baking. This provides the filling a while to chill. I’ve locked onto this onion-cheese combo currently, however you’ll be able to think about infinite variations.

To fill the dough, you run the filling in a line up the center of every of the 4 strips of dough. Fold them every in half, after which pinch the seam to seal the filling in. Now you’ve gotten 4 stuffed strands that you will organize side-by-side (beneath). Pinch them collectively on the prime and begin braiding (see diagram beneath). Coil the braid into a good spherical, snail form, let the dough rise, brush with an egg wash, and bake! 

Diagram of a Four Strand Braid

A 4-strand Braid

First, let me say – in case you’re frightened about attempting the four-strand braid, I perceive! If you wish to fall again to a chubby three-strand bread braid the primary time by way of, go for it. The primary factor is to decide to the braid both approach. Even in case you’re satisfied issues aren’t going properly. This sense could be triggered by just a few issues. A typical drawback is strands splitting open to disclose the filling – simply re-pinch and hold going. Or, you would possibly really feel like your strands hold stretching and getting longer and longer? It’s okay, you’ll coil them right into a spherical form. Maintain braiding even when your strands are longer than your sheet pan. Boss the dough round a bit. If it’s too sticky, mud with a little bit of flour. The primary factor? Don’t get discouraged, hold going.

Braided Onion Bread filled With Caramelized Onions and Gruyere Cheese just After Baking

Please let me know in case you bake a braided loaf, or ship me a message on Insta. Or in case you experiment with different fillings, please depart a remark. I am unable to wait to see what you do with this one. I liked seeing all of you posting soup pics final week. xo – h

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