Bread Baking: Braided Bread


[Photograph: Donna Currie]

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It's fun to make bread in shapes. A braid is a fairly simple shape too yet this one looks more complicated because of the multiple strands—18 in all. But don't worry, you're really only braiding three strands.

The sesame seeds are optional. I like the flavor, but the braid design is a little more obvious without them. You can still see the multiple strands when you're up close and slicing the bread, but the far view isn't as dramatic.

Chances are you won't have a precise rectangle of dough when you roll it out, and that's perfectly fine. When you're done braiding, you'll be trimming the end, anyway, to even up that end. You can use any leftover pieces to make a roll or two to sample your bread without cutting into the pretty finished loaf.