What’s one thing that intimidates you in the kitchen?
For me, it has always been bread.
The yeast, the exact measurements, the sifting, the kneading, the rolling, and the waiting—it would be so much easier to just buy a loaf of bread, right?
But then there’s the wonderful aroma that fills my kitchen and the accomplishment that comes with each successful slice. So I would say that I will mingle with bread making the least I can, and when I do, I usually turn to my bread machine which is a quick fix!
However, lately, I decided it’s time to dive into the world of bread making head on—as in making not just your average loaf, and making not one, but two different braided loaves. With fingers crossed, I waited for both loaves to rise—check. Then watched as it slowly browned in the oven—check. Let it cool and then cut it into even slices—check. Taste? Check! Appearance? Check! Success? Double check!
“Bread is the king of the table and all else is merely the court that surrounds the king. The countries are the soup, the meat, the vegetables, the salad but bread is king.”
Louis Bromfield, American novelist
Frosted Caramel Nut Braid
- In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add milk, eggs, sugar, butter, salt and 2 cups four; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft but sticky dough. Do not knead. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours. Beat 25 strokes with a spoon; turn onto a well-floured surface.
- Roll into a 16-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Combine filling ingredients with a fork; spread evenly over the dough. Cut dough lengthwise into three strips. Roll up jelly-roll style, beginning at a long end; pinch edges and ends to seal. Place three rolls diagonally, seam side down, on a foil-lined 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Braid ropes together gently (do not stretch); seal ends. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and cool slightly on wire rack.
- For frosting, heat butter in a saucepan over low heat until golden brown; cool slightly. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Stir in enough water to make a spreadable consistency. Frost top of braid; immediately sprinkle with pecans.