I am not very adventurous in the kitchen. Being a rule follower, I like to follow recipes. Like, to the T. I rarely deviate unless I just don’t have a spice or ingredient. Not sure why I’m like that other than the fact that if I do something I want it to turn out right the first time. I don’t want the ingredients and my time to go to waste.
BUT LATELY, I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen. It might be a case of invasion of the body snatchers, but whatever, I like what I’ve been making! Tonight I actually took pictures as I was creating. I know there have to be hundreds of braided bread recipes out there. I’m submitting mine for consideration.
BRAIDED PIZZA BREAD
(Dough adapted from The Galley Gourmet’s Coffeecake recipe.)
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (I used Tastefully Simple’s Mama Mia Marinara Sauce Mix)
FOR THE PIZZA FILLING
1/4 cup (2 ounces) butter
Couple shakes of Italian seasoning
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Pizza sauce of choice
Ingredients of choice, I used:
Queso Fresco crumbling cheese (like Feta in consistency)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 2 cups of flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and Italian seasoning. In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the milk and butter just until the butter melts. Add the water and set aside until warm (120º F-130º F), about 1 minute. Pour the milk mixture over the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after addition. Add 1/2 cup more flour and continue to mix on low speed until smooth, about 30-45 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons of additional flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, but slightly sticky. Sprinkle the work surface with flour, and place dough on flour. Knead the dough gently until it is smooth and no longer sticky, adding an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour if needed. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft free place until it has doubled in bulk, about 45-60 minutes.Meanwhile, melt 1/4 cup of butter and add minced garlic and Italian seasoning. Let sit at room temperature to let the flavors mix.Once the dough has risen, gently de-gas it by pressing lightly. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle (16 x 12 or so). Transfer to a baking sheet. (At this point, I wasn’t ready to bake it so I let it sit on the counter for maybe an hour.) Using a pastry brush, spread the garlic butter evenly over the dough. Spread the pizza sauce down the center of the dough (lengthwise). Layer pepperoni, cheese, jalapenos, and whatever else you want to add.
Using a knife or pizza cutter cut slits from the pizza sauce down to the outer edges of the dough. Mine were about 1 1/2 inches wide (maybe). Starting at one end diagonally fold in dough strips, alternating sides.
When there were three strips left on each side I folded up the open end and then proceeded until all the strips were folded over.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
The bread is light and airy, easy to cut through with a fork.
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