Woven Bread

Before and after- bread stuffed with Samsø cheese (kind of like the danish cousin of Swiss cheese), diced apples, and spinach!
Eating a bowl of pasta sauce with a spoon and some good bread for dinner was (and still is) not all that unusual for me, especially on lazy nights.
One of these nights when I was about 16 I was out of sauce worthy bread, and somehow it was more logical to bake some than to go to the store. That was my first bread baking experience, and now that I have learned more about bread baking, I  found it is a completely different art from most types of baking and cooking. I won't ever learn enough, but I can try!

The basic dough in this recipe stems from a recipe found in the Tassajara Bread Book. If you have ever used this book you may notice a lot of the recipes are flexible enough to alter for your own tastes, which is just what I did!

Woven Bread Stuffed with Samsø, Apples, and Spinach

1 1/2 c warm water (85º - 105º F)
1 1/2 tbsp dry yeast (2 packets)
2 tbsp honey, molasses, brown sugar, or regular sugar
2 c flour
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp oil or butter
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour

-Dissolve the yeast in the water and let foam/dissolve
-Stir in the sweetening, add the 2 cups of flour and combine well, then let sit for 45 minutes
-Fold in the salt and oil/butter, then add the whole wheat flour and combine until a dough forms
-Bring the dough to a work surface and knead for 8-10 minutes until smooth while using extra flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking
-Let the dough rise another hour, then punch the dough and roll it with a rolling pin to make a rectangular shape about 1/2 - 1 inch in thickness
-Place the rectangle in front of you so that its longest side is horizontal

--At this point let the dough rest like this for about 20 minutes on a greased baking sheet while you dice your cheese and apples. I used about 1 cup of diced cheese, about 1/2 an apple, and a small handful if spinach though you can use more or less to your liking. Preheat the oven to 400º F--

-Sprinkle your filling ingredients evenly up and down the center of the dough, then use a pizza cutter to cut inch wide strips in the remaining dough on either side of the filling
-Once you have all your strips cut begin at the top by crossing the first strip on the left over to the rights side, then cross the first strip on the right over to the left side
-Continue crossing the strips of dough in this left-right-left-right pattern
-Once you have finished, pinch or tuck the edges together so the bread seals itself at the ends while baking
-Before placing the  dough in the oven you can either brush the top with an egg wash or spray it with water
-Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden.

Your bread should look something like this:


Barefoot Pregnant and In The Kitchen 8/6/11, 3:41 PM  

Beautiful! Seriously don't think I've ever said that about bread before either... I'm scared of yeast breads. I don't know what I do wrong, I've tried thousands of times and everytime it won't rise. Suggestions?

sweet road 8/6/11, 5:28 PM  

@Barefoot Pregnant and In The KitchenIt could be that your water temperature is not right. If the water is too hot then it will kill the yeast. You can either use a thermometer or determine whether the temperature is right by how it feels: If the water feels a bit cool or warm it is not the right temperature. Considering out body temperature is 98.6, when you touch the water it should almost feel like there is no temperature change at all!

The other option could be that the yeast is old. Keeping it in the fridge or even the freezer can help, but it still has a shelf life so check the expiration date.

An easy way to tell if the yeast will do its job before going through the trouble of making dough is to make sure it "foams" when you sprinkle it into the water. If this doesn't happen then just try again by adjusting the temp. with new water or use new yeast.

Other than that, the only suggestion I can think of is to mix in your honey or sugar (whatever sweetener) with the water before adding the yeast. Yeast feeds on sugar so that should help!

I hope some of these suggestions help sort out your bread woes! If not, shoot me an email and I'll see what I can find in any of my bread books, I'd be happy to help!

Marla {family fresh cooking} 8/6/11, 10:30 PM  

This bread is beautiful & I love that it is stuffed!

Heidi @ Food Doodles 8/7/11, 12:29 AM  

What a beautiful bread! The stuffing sounds delicious :D

julia 8/7/11, 1:45 PM  

oh gorgeous!

Kathleen 8/7/11, 10:46 PM  

Wow, that looks wonderful. I LOVE making bread but have not done this one. I can't wait to make this. Thanks so much for sharing.

Barefoot Pregnant and In The Kitchen 8/8/11, 12:19 PM  

@sweet road

Thanks so much for the suggestions. I think I'm going to tackle trying to make it this week.... lets see how I do!!

Kulsum@JourneyKitchen 8/11/11, 8:56 AM  

Wow! Looks great. Would love it, if you could send your lovely bread to an event I'm hosting about yeasted dough :-) http://www.journeykitchen.com/2011/08/yeasted-dough-monthly-mingle-august.html

Cookie and Kate 8/16/11, 5:03 PM  

Woah. That is quite possibly the prettiest loaf of bread I've ever seen. It looks incredibly tasty!

Angry Asian 9/7/11, 2:51 PM  

the braided sweet bread is my fave, not just because it's beautiful or that it tastes so good, but because it's versatile... you can stuff it with ANYTHING, sweet or savory.


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