Braiding bread looks pretty fancy and impressive at any party. It looks difficult to make but is really easy and simple.
Start with some pizza dough. I used a sourdough pizza dough (the recipe is below).
Roll out the pizza dough to make a rectangle. For ease, place this directly on a baking tray after rolling. Cut the dough along the edge. This will be need for the braid.
For the filling, choose things that you want on a pizza or be creative and experiment. For this braided bread, I wanted to use spinach and goat cheese. I cook down the spinach and add a bit of salt and pepper before adding it to the dough.
While the spinach is cooling, spread tomato sauce in the middle section of the dough. Add more than you think because the bread rises. (I didn’t put nearly enough). Crumble the goat cheese on the tomato paste and add the spinach.
To make it extra cheesy, I sprinkle pizza cheese (mozzarella) on everything.
To braid the bread, starting from one end take one strip and fold it over the middle. Take another strip from the other side and fold it over the first strip. Continue down both side, alternating as you go. Tuck any excess amount of dough underneath.
Once you are done, brush the entire bread with an egg yolk wash. (Separate the egg yolk from the egg white. Beat the egg yolk and brush that over the bread). Egg washes help create a nice brown crust on the bread.
The bread is ready when it is golden brown. Serve at a dinner party and everyone will be impressed!!
- 1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
- 4 -5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups flour ( plus a little more or less to adjust consistency)
- Preheat oven to 500°F.
- Mix starter, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt, and flour together in a mixing bowl until it blends and forms a ball (add more or less flour to adjust consistency; if you get it too dry just add a little more starter).
- Allow dough to rest for about 30 minutes (don’t look for it to rise, just to get the dough where it is easier to roll).
- Roll out mixture on parchment paper or a lightly floured surface until it fits the size of your pan, turning the dough as you roll (if you want a more even circle).
- Par-bake the crust on a pizza stone or pizza sheet for about 7 minutes, then remove from oven.
- Before topping your pizza with any sauce, cheese, or toppings, brush the top of the crust all over with remaining olive oil (as needed), using a pastry brush (this helps keep soggy moisture out of the crust as it bakes).
- Top as desired and cook until browned and cheese is melted.
- If you use certain vegetables as a topping (onions are the first thing that comes to mind) you might want to cook those about halfway before topping the pizza with them (or they will be too crunchy).
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