For Bread Baking Day 30 hosted by Natasha at Living in the Kitchen with Puppies, we are asked to bake twisted bread – bread with a twist. Although my favorite puff pastry nibbles probably qualify…you cut the puff paste into strips, coat with seeds or pesto or cheese and then give them a few twists before placing on the baking sheet and baking til crisp and golden…I always think of braids when I put bread and twist together.
To start this bread I mixed some sourdough starter with a flour and water mixture and added some molasses, then let it sit for a few hours to develop the wild yeasts and flavor.
Looks like happy yeast in this 'starter plus flour, water and molasses'.
Cooked and cooled oatmeal…just oats and water…gives additional flavor and body (plus I just love oatmeal). Salt and bread flour are the only other additions, plus rising time for the first rise. (I was interrupted a couple of times while beginning this bread, so I hope I have put down the actual measurments. Please feel free to add additional water or flour if needed to make a supple dough.)
I divided the dough, with one piece being a two pound piece, later shaped for sandwiches in a loaf pan (posted about over at the Bread Bakers Dog here).
Now comes the twist. The second piece was cut into three pieces, each weighing almost the same amount (more fun with my excellent new scale!) and then each piece was individually shaped into a long rectangle, about 10 inches long and two inches wide. Down the middle I ran some Meyer Lemon Marmalade, a Christmas gift whose time has finally come. The long edges were pulled together and sealed with a pinch, to create three marmalade filled ropes. Those ropes were what I braided for the twisted braid.
The rest is the ususal…second rise, egg wash, bake until golden, cool a bit, enjoy.
I could also see this being good with jam instead of the marmalade….or grated dark chocolate…mmm. The jam sort of sunk to the bottom of each rope when baked so the bottom part of the slice had more sweet lemon flavor than the rest, with just a little in the middle of the slice. The sparkle sugar helped carry the sweetness to the top. If you prefer a less sweet experience, skip the sparkle sugar and use a bitter orange marmalade instead of the lemon one.
Oatmeal Sourdough Braid with Lemon Marmalade
1 ½ cups 100% hydration sourdough starter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups water
2 tablespoons molasses
2/3 cup rolled oats
1 1/3 cups water
½ teaspoon salt
3-4 cups bread flour
1 egg beaten slightly with 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon (about) clear sparkle sugar
Place the sourdough starter in a medium bowl. In another bowl whisk together the flour, water and molasses. Add to the sourdough starter and whisk to combine. Leave on counter, uncovered, 2 or more hours until the yeasts look very active…you will see tiny bubbles rise to the surface.
While the yeast mixture is becoming active, cook the oatmeal in the water and set aside to cool completely.
Once the yeast mixture is active, place it in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the cold oatmeal and stir to break up the cereal. With the mixer set at lowest speed with the dough hook attached, add bread flour until the dough no longer sticks to the side of the bowl and knead with the mixer until smooth and supple and tacky but not sticky, about 6 -10 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes to completely combine all elements.
Gather dough into a ball and place, rounded side first, into an oiled bowl or container large enough for the first rise. Turn the dough over to entirely coat it lightly with oil. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled in bulk.
Divide dough, shape, let rise again, and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until golden brown. If you like you can brush on a wash of beaten egg right before baking.
Take a pound of the Oatmeal dough and divide into three pieces. Take a piece at a time and flatten the dough into a long thin rectangle, about 10 by 2 inches. Spoon a thin ribbon of lemon marmalade down the middle. Pull the long ends together and pinch to seal, creating marmalade filled rope. Place the rope, seam side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicon mat. Repeat with the other two pieces of dough.
When all three ropes have been filled and placed next to each other, braid them loosely, tucking the ends under. Cover and let rise until almost doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. Brush braid with beaten egg (and sprinkle with crystal sugar if desired) and bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when bottom is tapped. Remove from baking pan and let cool on a wire rack.
In case you have an interest in the upcoming bathroom remodel, here is the sink and countertop for the vanity, as seen in the showroom. Ours will take about three weeks to arrive.