Friday, 1 February 2013

Braided & Ready for the Bread Fashion Show

This Braided Poppy Seed Loaf is dressed and ready to go to the Bread Baking Day #56: Bread Fashion Show hosted by Jenni from The Gingered Whisk

Poppy, as this beautiful braid is affectionately called, has a golden brown crust bathed in egg wash and dotted with poppy seeds. Underneath her crust, you’ll find a delicious crumb with black sesame seeds scattered throughout.



Although Poppy has a beautiful coat on already, she’s a little shy so she tried on this bamboo bread bag for size.  She liked being all snuggly inside the bag, but decided she wanted to shine and not be hidden inside a bag. She’ll wear that one another day.



Since it’s so close to Valentine’s Day, and all those beautiful breads will be vying for attention, Poppy decided to arrive at the fashion show in a big red bow. She decided being shy wouldn’t win her any fans.



I had fun with this bread. My version is made with Graham flour and white bread flour, but you can substitute regular whole wheat flour for the Graham flour or use all white flour.  I didn’t have enough poppy seeds to use in the dough and on the crust so I used black sesame seeds in the dough. Feel free to use all poppy seeds or a mixture of poppy seeds and sesame seeds or a different mixture of seeds if you prefer.


Braided Poppy Seed Loaf

Makes: 1 Loaf

Adapted from: Making Fresh Bread: From your oven to your table by Love Food



  • 1/2 cup Graham flour
  • 2 cups white bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons superfine sugar (I used organic pure sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds


  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon Almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds



1. Mixing the Dough

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl and stir in the milk, sugar, and yeast.  Add the lukewarm water and oil.  Mix well with a Danish dough whisk or wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together.  Add the poppy (or sesame seeds) and knead them into the dough into they are fully incorporated. 



2. Kneading the Dough

Once the dough leaves the sides of the bowl, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Knead well until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.


3. Proofing the Dough

Form the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl.  Cover with a damp dish towel or plastic wrap and let is rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in volume.



4. Braiding the Loaf

Grease a baking sheet with oil.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly flour surface.  Punch it down and knead it for a couple of minutes. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and shape them lightly into balls.  Let the balls rest for 5 minutes.



Shape each ball into a rope about 10-12 inches long.



Place the ropes side by side and press them together at one end.



Braid the dough, then pinch the other end, and tuck it underneath.





Place the loaf on the greased baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.



5: Prepare the Loaf for Baking

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Beat the egg yolk with the milk and sugar to make the egg glaze.  Brush the egg glaze over the top of the loaf and sprinkle with the poppy seeds.



6. Baking the Loaf

Bake the loaf for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom.  Partway through the baking cycle, rotate the bread for even baking.  This bread will burn on the outside due to the sugar in the egg wash so keep a careful eye on it.  If the bread starts to brown too much before it’s finished baking, tent the loaf with aluminum foil and continue baking.


7.  Cooling and Serving the Loaf

Transfer the loaf to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.




8. Slice and Enjoy!

This isn’t an enriched dough so it doesn’t taste rich and eggy like challah.  It has a little bit of sweetness but it mostly just tastes like a light grain bread.  It’s good for toast (and fashion shows).



Happy Baking! 



Thanks to Jenni from The Gingered Whisk for hosting BBD #56: Bread Fashion Show. I had a ball with this one.


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