Braided date bread

This braided date bread is quick and easy to make which makes it a great choice  for when you are tight on time and can’t make individual pastries. The fact that this bread is stuffed makes it versatile. Depending on the stuffing it can make for a great lunch, dessert or sliced up it can be a wonderful appetizer for a party. It is faster and easier than making individualized portions and the best part is: the possibilities for the stuffing are endless. To get your creative juices running here are a few stuffing suggestions

Mediterranean cheese: Feta, cheddar and Halloumi cheese with mint

Want a vegetarian version: try spinach and sautéed onions

Feeling like something sweet: some softened butter and cinnamon

braided date bread
It is my pleasure to be a guest at Jenni’s blog (the gingered whisk) today. I came to know Jenni through the daring kitchen.She hosted a few amazing challenges like povitica  and homemade sausages. She stood out as one of those people who are extra nice and helpful. She always has something sweet and supportive to say. Her passion shines through every challenge. Jenni is also the co-founder of sourdough surprises, a group where anyone who is in love with sourdough can join in for a monthly challenge to use your sourdough starter in new and creative ways

Jenni just had a  precious baby girl and she asked me to write a guest post for her blog while she takes some time off. I couldn’t be happier to help. Since Jenni shares my passion for baking I thought I would share a bread recipe.

braided bread

Ingredients

    • 1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water
    • 3/4 cup warm milk
    • 1 egg
    • 1/4 cup (57 gram) butter, softened
    • 1/4 cup (50 gram) white sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams)salt
    • 3 1/4 tp 3 1/2 cups ( 416-448 gram) all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons (8 grams) dry yeast
    • 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram)cardamom optional

For topping

    • 1/4 cup (60ml) of milk
    • 1 tablespoon (14 gm)sugar

Stuffing

    • 500g pitted dates
    • 4 tablespoons butter (see notes)
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoom cardamom (optional)

Instructions

To prepare the stuffing:

Knead the dates with butter, cinnamon and cardamom until you get a smooth soft ball. if you have a little trouble place all the ingredients in a pot and heat it gently while kneading with a wooden spoon. The heat will help soften the dates
If your dates are a little dry pre-soak then in hot water for 10-15 minutes then drain them and add the butter and spices.

In a bowl whisk the egg with milk, water, sugar, butter and yeast.
Set aside Set aside
In another bowl sift the flour with the salt and the cardamom.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and knead until you get a smooth dough.
Place it in a bowl you have brushed with some oil and cover it with a wet cloth and leave it in a warm place to double
(If you are tight on time you can heat your oven to 200 C then turn it off and place your dough in a glass bowl and place it in the warm (turned off) oven with the wet cloth covering the bowl)

step1
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface
Roll into a rectangle
Roll the date filling between two plastic bags
Transfer the date filling on to the rolled dough, make sure that the size of the the date rectangle leaves 1 inch (2.5cm) margin all around
step2
Roll the dough from the long side into a tube form,pinch the seam closed.

Cut the dough tube in half down the length of the dough tube
Place the halfs side-by-side, quickly braid the two together, keeping the open ended parts on top.
Pinch the ends together, at this stage you can shape the bread into a wreath, securing both ends together. or you can leave it as a braid.


step 3Transfer to a parchment-lined or cornmeal-dusted baking sheet, or a pizza stone.

Loosely cover the top with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes. It should rise a bit more during this time.

During this time you would heat your oven to 270C (500F) (rack in the middle)
Bake for 5 minutes on 270C (500F) then lower the temperature to 200 C (400 F) and cook for 15-20 more minutes (ovens do differ greatly, so the time may differ..what you want is to bake it until the under side is golden brown)
Turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes until it is golden brown on top

bread and a cup of tea