Learn how to braid a 7-strand plaited loaf with this step by step tutorial.  This beautiful bread is delicious with soup, or made into grilled cheese sandwiches.  Plus, the plaiting is not as hard as it sounds!

Prep Time: 50 minutes
How to Braid a 7-Strand Loaf: learn how to braid a 7-strand loaf with this step by step tutorial. Your friends and family will be impressed with your new skill! | www.savortheflavour.com
How To, Savory Bread

How to Braid a 7-Strand Loaf

One of my favorite ways to fancy up a plain bread dough is by braiding it.  Braiding, or plaiting, the dough is not only fun, but it is also quite easy once you know the pattern.  This 7-strand braided loaf is easier to make than it might sound.  Let’s get started!

How to Braid a 7-Strand Loaf: learn how to braid a 7-strand loaf with this step by step tutorial. Your friends and family will be impressed with your new skill! | www.savortheflavour.com

First, make a basic white bread dough and let it prove until it’s at least doubled in size.  Knock it back by punching it down all over, then divide it into 7 equal pieces.  A kitchen scale is a big help here!

How to Braid a 7-Strand Loaf: learn how to braid a 7-strand loaf with this step by step tutorial. Your friends and family will be impressed with your new skill! | www.savortheflavour.com

Roll each piece into a long strand using the palms of your hands.  Start rolling each piece in the middle, then gradually work your way outward, spreading your fingers out as you roll.  Try to get each strand the same length! 😉 Be careful not to use too much flour during this step, as the dough needs to be able to grip the work surface in order to roll easily.

How to Braid a 7-Strand Loaf: learn how to braid a 7-strand loaf with this step by step tutorial. Your friends and family will be impressed with your new skill! | www.savortheflavour.com

If you notice that the strands are starting to tear or just aren’t rolling out easily, set that piece aside to rest for a couple minutes while you work on another strand.  This allows the gluten to relax, making it easier to roll out the dough.

Line up all 7 strands with their sides touching.  Split the bottom half of the strands into two groups: 4 on the left side, 3 on the right side.

How to Braid a 7-Strand Loaf: learn how to braid a 7-strand loaf with this step by step tutorial. Your friends and family will be impressed with your new skill! | www.savortheflavour.com

To begin the plait, cross the leftmost strand over the others and bring it inside of the right hand group.  Cross the rightmost strand over the others and bring it inside of the left hand group.  Repeat until half of the loaf is plaited.  Make sure to braid the strands tightly, but don’t stretch them out as you plait, as this will result in one end of the loaf being skinnier than the other.  Pinch the ends of the plait together firmly.

How to Braid a 7-Strand Loaf: learn how to braid a 7-strand loaf with this step by step tutorial. Your friends and family will be impressed with your new skill! | www.savortheflavour.com

Flip over the loaf by bringing the plaited end up and over, making sure to hold it where the plait stops.  Separate the strands again into two groups, this time with 3 on the left and 4 on the right.  Repeat the plaiting as before, pinching the loose ends to seal.

How to Braid a 7-Strand Loaf: learn how to braid a 7-strand loaf with this step by step tutorial. Your friends and family will be impressed with your new skill! | www.savortheflavour.com

Gently pick up the plait and form it into a wreath shape on a large baking stone or parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Put the pan inside of a clean garbage bag to seal and let the dough prove again before brushing with egg wash and baking.

How to Braid a 7-Strand Loaf: learn how to braid a 7-strand loaf with this step by step tutorial. Your friends and family will be impressed with your new skill! | www.savortheflavour.com

Now you know how to plait a showstopping loaf for your family and friends to enjoy!  If your first try isn’t perfect, don’t be discouraged; it takes some practice to get tight, even plaiting. 👍

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How to Braid a 7-Strand Loaf: learn how to braid a 7-strand loaf with this step by step tutorial. Your friends and family will be impressed with your new skill! | www.savortheflavour.com

How to Plait a 7-Strand Loaf


  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 large loaf

Description

Learn how to braid a 7-strand plaited loaf with this step by step tutorial.  This beautiful bread is delicious with soup, or made into grilled cheese sandwiches.  Plus, the plaiting is not as hard as it sounds!


Ingredients

  • 5 cups bread flour (500g)
  • 3 teaspoons fast-action yeast (10g)
  • 2 teaspoons fine salt (10g)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • about 1 1/2 cups room-temperature filtered water (340 ml)

For the Egg Wash

  • 1 egg, well beaten

Instructions

Making the Dough (20 minutes + 1 hour proving time)

  1. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl.  Stir in each with your finger, then mix everything together.
  2. Add the olive oil and three-quarters of the water and start mixing with your hand to bring the dough together.  Gradually add the remaining water, kneading in the bowl between each addition, until a slightly sticky dough is formed.  Depending upon the flour you are using, you may need more or less water than the recipe states.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes, until the dough is very smooth and stretchy.  Shape the dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  4. Let the dough prove for about 1 hour, until it has at least doubled in size.

Shaping the Loaf (30 minutes + 45 minutes proving time)

  1. Turn out the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and punch it down all over to knock out any large pockets of gas.
  2. Using a kitchen scale for accuracy, divide the dough into 7 equal pieces.
  3. On a very lightly floured surface, roll each blob of dough into a long rope using the palms of your hands.  Start rolling from the center of the dough, then gradually work your way outward, spreading your fingers apart as you roll.  This helps the dough to roll evenly.
  4. Line up all 7 strands with their sides touching.  Split the bottom half of the strands into two groups: 4 on the left side, 3 on the right side.
  5. To begin the plait, cross the leftmost strand over the others and bring it inside of the right hand group.  Cross the rightmost strand over the others and bring it inside of the left hand group.  Repeat until half of the loaf is plaited.  Pinch the ends of the plait together firmly.
  6. Flip over the loaf by bringing the plaited end up and over, making sure to hold it where the plait stops.  Separate the strands again into two groups: 4 on the left, 3 on the right.  Repeat the plaiting as before, pinching the loose ends to seal.
  7. Gently pick up the plait and form it into a wreath shape on a large baking stone or parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Put the pan inside of a clean garbage bag to seal and let the dough prove for about 45 minutes, until the loaf has risen a lot and the dough springs back when lightly pressed with a finger.
  8. About 10-15 minutes before the end of the proving time, preheat the oven to 400 F.

Baking the Loaf (25 minutes + 10 minutes cooling time)

  1. Brush the loaf with egg wash, then bake at 400 F for about 25-30 minutes, until the loaf is well risen and golden brown.
  2. Let the loaf cool for a few minutes on a wire rack, then serve with soft butter.

Notes

  • If you notice that the strands are starting to tear or just aren’t rolling out easily, set that piece aside to rest for a couple minutes while you work on another strand.  This allows the gluten to relax, making it easier to roll out the dough.
  • Make sure to braid the strands tightly, but don’t stretch them out as you plait, as this will result in one end of the loaf being skinnier than the other.

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