This is my first attempt at making a braided bread and look how it has turned out. I’m mighty pleased with the result. So, what do you all say?. It does look like a mini Egyptian Mummy, Doesn’t it? As I wanted to post some breads for this month’s let’s cook theme, I tried baking a basic white bread a few weeks back and guess what, it was a super flop. It was just one of those days when a bread was not supposed to be baked I guess, when all things of nature just worked against it.
Only after I started to knead did I realize that my fingers were swollen and aching so much. So I did not knead much (at all). Then, that particular day was supposed to be an 8 hour maintenance power shut down which I did not know until later. I could have refrigerated the dough but then I had defrosted the fridge only that morning and it was not cool enough. As a result despite the bread’s taste being good, it turned out very hard on top.
So thought of making a pizza bread as it requires only less kneading time and also I wanted to compensate the kids disappointment with the white bread. I just added what all I had at home and played a bit with the seasoning and voila!! an aromatic, flavorful bread is ready which also happened to taste like pizza much to the children’s delight.
Braided Pizza Bread
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes
- All purpose flour – 1-1/2 cups
- Instant dry yeast – 2-1/4 tsp / 1 sachet
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Sugar – 1 tbsp
- Milk – 1/4 cup
- Water – 1/4 cup
- Olive oil – 2 tbsp
For the stuffing:
- Onion – 1
- Tomato – 1
- Bell pepper – 1
- Corn kernels – 1 handful
- Italian seasoning – 1 tsp
- Red chilli flakes – 1 tsp
- Kasuri methi (Dried fenugreek leaves) – 1/2 tsp (optional)
- Pizza cheese – 1 cup
- Tomato sauce / pizza sauce – 1/4 cup
- Salt – 2 pinch
- Oil – 1 tsp
For the Garlic oil:
- Garlic cloves – 2
- Olive oil – 5 tbsp
The oven should be pre heated at 200 Degrees C before baking.
For the Garlic oil: Crush the garlic cloves. Warm the oil in a sauce pan or microwave and drop the garlic in the oil. Leave it undisturbed until use for the flavor of the garlic to seep into the oil.
For the Bread:
Place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl. Heat water and milk together to lukewarm temperature (115 Deg F approx). Pour this over the flour mixture and make a smooth dough. The dough will be sticky, add oil and work it into the dough by kneading for 5-7 mins. It will become springy to your touch. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and place the dough in the bowl. Smear oil all over dough and cover it with a damp cloth. Let it rest for 1 hour to double in size.
Mean while cube the onion and bell pepper, Scoop the seeds from the tomatoes and cube them as well. Heat a pan with oil. When hot add the onions and sauté for a minute. Add the corn kernels, tomatoes, bell pepper and sauté over high flame for 1 minute. Take off stove, let it cool. Sprinkle 2 pinch salt, mix well and keep aside.
After 1 hour, punch the doubled up dough to let the air out and knead for 2 – 3 minutes. Dust a clean work area with flour and with the help of a rolling pin roll the dough into a circle first.
Cut a rectangle shape butter / parchment paper and place the dough and with the help of rolling pin and your palm work into a rectangle. Smear oil all over the surface. In the centre of the rectangle apply the tomato / pizza sauce like shown above and sprinkle red chilli flakes over it.
Grate cheese over the chilli flakes to cover the entire sauce. Stack the sautéed vegetables over the sauce and cheese as shown above.
Sprinkle the red chilli flakes, kasuri methi, Italian seasoning all over the stacked vegetables and on the sides as well. Once again grate cheese all over to cover the vegetables.
With the help a sharp knife of pizza cutter cut ribbons starting from vegetable end to the tip as shown above.
Cut the strips on both the sides and start bringing the ends from the end to middle with one end over lapping the other.
The final braided bread should look like above. Brush all over the surface with the garlic oil. Close with a wrap and let it once again rest for 15-20 minutes. Now grate a little cheese all over the braids and sprinkle little Italian seasoning on the cheese.
Preheat the oven at 200 Degrees C. Lift the butter paper and place it on pan in which you are going to bake. Trim away the extra butter paper. Place the pan in the over and bake for 20 minutes till the top is golden brown. Take off oven and let it cool down.
Best served hot with tomato sauce. Enjoy !!!
You can also check out this step by step Homemade Vegetable Pizza recipe to get an idea and turn the same bread into a pizza substituting with your own toppings. Resting the braided bread for a second rise is optional as I found that it did not rise that much but the braids did soften as the yeast worked its wonders.
Alternatively you can try out this stuffing that I had made for the stuffed buns instead of using pizza toppings in this bread. The choices are a plenty and you can play with the stuffing part keeping the bread as the base recipe. Let your imagination run riot and create magic.
In case if you are using Active dry yeast, use the same quantity but proof it before adding.
While sprinkling the seasoning on top after braiding, I pulsed the seasoning to a coarse powder along with some chilli flakes to increase the heat factor.
Add salt to the vegetable only after they have considerably cool else they will bring out the moisture from the vegetables.
You can also add paneer cubes, baby corn, mushroom to stuff the bread.
Omit the kasuri methi if you feel that it is too strong for the flavoring.
Oven timings will change accordingly.