The Beauty of Braided Breads

When I was a young girl, I remember my sister Judy braiding a sweet dough interspersed with raisins and chopped nuts. She brushed the top with wonderful sweet icing. The soft sweetness of this golden bread made quite an impression. To this day, whether the bread is a German Stollen, Swiss Kopf, or Jewish Challah, I am captivated by the beauty of braided bread and associate it with that first experience.

During Rosh Hashanah, one of my favorite online sourdough bakers posted a slightly sweet Challah recipe on Instagram*. I have had so much success with her sourdough recipes that I was excited to try making this one. In addition, I was pleased to read that the ingredients included some honey, active sourdough, wholesome milk, two eggs, and oil. I have not enjoyed some recipes with sweetened sourdough bread because the two opposing elements of sweet and sour in sourdough bread often do not complement each other.

This slightly sweet braided bread that I made by everything.sourdough makes terrific French toast as well as sandwich bread. I sliced the bread into thick pieces and put the entire loaf into the freezer. Over the last few months, I removed slices for making French toast or toasted them in the oven creating the most flavorful bread for sandwiches and burgers. It’s not a dessert bread like a stollen, but it has the soft texture of the buttery artistic Kopf.

Deb’s @everything.sourdough’s Challah recipe is an easy sourdough bread to make and tastes great. – Carole

* Deb@everything.sourdough Sourdough Challah Recipe The full recipe including the directions is in my menu under Sourdough Bread

Pumpkin and Chocolate Chips

“It’s pumpkin season everything!”

This quote was posted on social media by my nephew several years ago. His reference to pumpkin season was followed by a fun list of all the fun pumpkin foods on the market this time of year. It made me laugh because it’s so true! Once fall begins, we are inundated (but delightfully so) with pumpkin products and pumpkin flavored food.

This pumpkin bread* from Rachel Gurk’s food blog surprised me. It listed no oil or butter and only 3/4 cup maple syrup (for two loaves of bread). It also lists healthy ingredients such as yogurt, whole wheat flour, and no refined sugar. Rachel’s blog also has a recipe for making your own pumpkin spice.

Due to my personal taste, I used less whole wheat flour in this recipe. Instead, I added two and a half cups of King Arthur white flour and only one cup of whole wheat flour. I made Rachel’s homemade pumpkin spice, added my homemade yogurt, and used fresh pumpkin puree. I also added a half cup of chopped walnuts. For more attractive loaves, I sprinkled chopped chips and walnuts on top right before popping them in the oven.

This pumpkin bread came out beautifully and was super easy to make. It was moist and delicious even without fat and excess sugar.

Welcome to everything pumpkin season! — Carole

Healthy Pumpkin Bread Chocolate Bread Recipe

Rachel Gurk’s Homemade Pumpkin Spice

Anise & Apricots

This artisan apricot sourdough bread developed by Sophie MacKenzie is delightfully sweet yet has no sugar! I particularly enjoyed the unique subtle anise flavor created by adding anise seeds. Twice made, this recipe turned out to be fantastic sandwich bread or incredibly delicious sliced for snacking.

Any sourdough bread baker would find this bread super easy and fun to make. Stretching and folding this well-hydrated dough* with lovely soft dried apricots has a light pleasing feel. I purchased Nature’s Garden Probiotic Apricots which were “irresistibly plump and succulent” and added chopped soaked pieces to the dough. I used my homemade sourdough starter that was bubbly active.

By the second day of fermentation (it’s a 2-day recipe), the dough was bursting from my banneton with live cultures. The final bread, baked in a dutch oven, had that crusty exterior we all look for in artisan bread and an airy interior with soft sweet apricots and anise seeds interspersed.

Be bold and try this naturally sweet fruity sourdough recipe!

Apricot Sourdough with Anise on Baked_the blog (the information and photos are excellent) About food developer Sophie McKenzie

* Used King Arthur Bread Flour & Nature’s Garden Probiotic Apricots