Paul Hollywood’s Plaited Loaf
There is something extremely satisfying about making bread and it always feels like such an acheivement afterwards. I have to say, making sourdough bread from scratch and making my own starter was a very proud moment for me but at the same time even a simple white loaf gives me a sense of satisfaction. And the smell of baking bread….well it is delicious. I think part of the reason it is so satisfying is that you really have to set aside some time to make bread, it can’t be done in a rush, unless you have a breadmaker that is. You have to really put some work into making bread, some tender loving care shall we say. After all my recent birthday cake baking, I have to say I really did miss baking bread, so when I had a few spare moments to bake some this week, I grabbed the chance. Also it was Homemade Bread Day on 17th November, a perfect time to get bread baking again!
I still have a huuuge long list of things from the last Bake Off that I want to make…chiffon cake, strudel, doughnuts, the list goes on. On my list was also the amazing 8 strand plaited loaves they made on the show, I’m always up for a challenge and when I saw them make these I wanted a go. So here it is…Paul Hollywood’s Plaited Loaf from the book ‘The Great British Bake Off – How To Turn Everyday Bakes Into Showstoppers‘.
There seemed to be a lot of trouble with the plaiting on the show but I found that if you follow the instructions exactly how they are written then you shouldn’t have a problem with it….next time I might try 8 strand plaiting my hair!
You will need:
500g strong white bread flour
14g fast action dried yeast
20ml olive oil
340ml water at room temperature
1 beaten egg with a pinch of salt (to glaze)
To make the dough put the flour in a mixing bowl, then add the salt on one side of the bowel and add the yeast to the other. These are instructions given by Paul Hollywood and are a way of making sure the two don’t touch each other as the salt can kill the yeast.
Next add the oil and mix in. Add three quarters of the water and use your hands to combine the ingredients. Add the rest of the water and work it into the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for about 10 minutes until it is stretchy. This is the fun, messy bit, but also pretty hard work!
Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave it to rise for about 1 hour at room temperature, it should double in size.
Knock back the dough and turn onto a floured surface. Divide it into 8 equal pieces and roll each peace into a long 40cm strand. Lay the strands out on the work surface, gathering the ends together. Now you are ready to GET PLAITING!
Follow the instructions, it will work, even though it seems a little odd at first. Number the strands, the strand furthest left is number 1, the strand furthest right is number 8, when you move the strands the numbers change and you start from 1 to 8, left to right again.
1. Strand 8 under strand 7, then over strand 1.
2. Strand 8 over strand 5.
3. Strand 2 under strand 3, then over strand 8.
4. Strand 1 over strand 4.
5. Strand 7 under strand 6, then over strand 1.
You only do step 1 once, right at the beginning. Keep repeating steps 2 to 5 until the plait is finished. Finish the ends off neatly.
Leave the plait to rise on a floured baking sheet. Leave it for 1 hour at room temperature. After an hour you can brush the loaf with the beaten egg, then bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 20-25 minutes. It should be golden brown and should sound hollow when tapped underneath.
Serve with butter and jam and enjoy the smell of freshly baked bread. Delicious!
I am entering this loaf into the Fresh From the Oven challenge, the theme this month is a plaited loaf and it is hosted by Fuss Free Flavours. This challenge is ran by Claire and Michelle fromPurely Food and Utterly Scrummy Food for Families.