How to Braid Bread
It’s so fun to braid bread—and it’s fun to impress your friends with the results.
It’s easy to braid bread. If you can make bread, you can braid bread.
Over the years, we’ve acquired some really great recipes—maybe some of our favorite bread recipes. We’ll show you just how easy it is and share these recipes with you.
You can braid bread to make challah which is usually egg and butter rich. You can also make stuffed bread. The chocolate braided bread and the New York bagel bread are absolutely outstanding.
How to Braid Bread
You can braid nearly any bread—including your favorite recipe. We often grab a mix—that makes it even easier.
Follow the package directions. You can set your bread machine to the dough cycle and mix the bread in the machine or you can use your stand-type mixer. If the resulting dough is too sticky to handle, knead in just a bit of extra flour.
For challah, consider our Sally Lunn Bread Mix. This is a rich, fine textured bread much like challah.
Place the bread dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled—about 1 1/2 hours.
Prepare a large baking sheet by greasing and sprinkling with cornmeal. Use a lighter colored sheet to help keep the bottom from burning.
Once raised, use a knife to divide the dough into three equal pieces (or four if you choose to make a four-braid bread). Roll the pieces under the palms of your hands into three long ropes as shown. You may need to let each rest for five to ten minutes to allow the dough to relax to get the proper shape. Using this mix, you should have three ropes nearly 24-inches long. If you want the loaf to be larger in the center and less rectangular shaped, make the ropes thicker in the middle and tapered toward the ends.
Braid the three ropes as shown in a common three strand braid just as if you were braiding pigtails. (Some people find it easier to create a symmetrical shape if they start braiding from the center.) When you get to the ends, wet them, pinch them together, and tuck them under. You should have a neat, symmetrical loaf when you are through. You can shape the loaf somewhat with your hands. If you don’t like how the loaf looks, simply pull the braids apart and start again.
Place the finished loaf on the prepared sheet. (The formed loaf will be about 12-inches long but after rising and baking, you will have a finished loaf of about 24-inches so be sure to allow room on your sheet for expansion.) Cover the loaf and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare a glaze by whisking one egg with one-half tablespoon of water. Just before baking and when the loaf has fully doubled, remove the plastic wrap and gently brush glaze over the entire surface of the loaf. Sprinkle the top with poppy seeds or sesame seeds if desired. (Tip the loaf so that you can sprinkle seeds on the sides as well.)
Bake the bread for 20 minutes then cover the bread with a large sheet of aluminum foil to protect the top. Continue baking for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the bread crust is a deep golden brown. The interior of the loaf should register 190 degrees with an insta-read thermometer.
Use a spatula to loosen the bread from the pan and transfer the loaf to a wire rack to cool.
Recipes to try: