January 05, 2012

I Heart Bread!

Apparently this is an authentic recipe from one of the Lithuanian bakeries. If you're not informed yet, Lithuania, being a tiny country, has one of the best breads on EARTH, not exaggerating at all !
Makes me proud... Every time I get nostalgic, I bake bread.

This recipe is easy to make, but takes time to get the end product, due to the amount of yeast in the bread, it's tiny and it takes a while to raise, but it give you the lightest bread with the crunchy crust,mmmmm, absolutely glorious!

Ingredients :
3 cups white flour (375grams)
6 grams dry yeast (3/4 teaspoon)
6 grams salt (3/4 teaspoon)
8 grams sugar (1 tablespoon, I used 2)
55 grams vegetable oil ( 4 tablespoons ) (when I make this bread with raisins, I use melted butter instead, makes it so fragrant and much denser)
200 ml water (3/4 c)

Combine 1c flour with yeast and 3/4c warm water (not hot,it will kill the yeast), cover with plastic and let sit for 30 minutes, when you see bubbles raising to the top, it's ready.

Add 1 cup of flour, salt, 1 tbsp sugar, veggie oil , and knead for 10-15 minutes, adding flour as needed. I never use the remaining 3rd cup, barely under 1/2c , y bread always turns out great.

I cannot stress enough the importance of kneading your bread, don't be lazy,what's 10 minutes of playing with soft dough?:) I don't trust the machines, like Will Smith in "I, Robot" ;D
I believe you give your food your energy when you make it with your hands ;)

After the dough is kneaded, put it in a bowl and cover it with plastic and a towel, let is sit someplace warm until it doubles in size.

Divide the dough into 3 parts, let it sit another 10 minutes, as 'they' say to relax ;)

Braid the dough as shown in this video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR6aIAh2Vt8

My favorite is 5 strand braiding, 6 i find to be too much.

Once you're done playing with it (it is very entertaining!:), place bread into the baking tray (any shape you want, bread pan, bundt pan) cover with plastic and let sit, until the bread is doubled in size again.
Brush with eggwash and bake at 180c /356 F for 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven and location.

Enjoy it warm, with some fresh butter and whatever else you want to put on top of it!

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