Before attempting the six strand braid for the bread made for BBD#15, I practiced a fair amount with coloured chord; we have a number of 6 strand braids hanging on the Christmas tree…. Braiding chord is not easy. It slips around and the strands unravel given the slightest chance.
Braiding bread dough, on the other hand, is really pretty easy. Even 6 strand braiding, once you get the hang of it, is pretty easy. But you don’t have to tell anyone, if you don’t want to. The final result is SO impressive!
The main reason that it’s easy is that dough strands stay exactly where they are placed. This is a good thing. I highly recommend that you skip the step of practicing with ribbons or chords and go directly to bread dough. What does it matter if the braid is wrong the first time? The bread will taste just as good. And chances are, the braid will be JUST right!
6 strand braid
First cut the bread dough in 6 even pieces and roll each one into a long rope. Try to make each rope the same length. It’s better if you refrain from using any flour. There is so much butter in this dough that it is unlikely to stick to the board. Place the 6 ropes in a fan shape and pinch the pointy end of the fan together.
- Take the 2nd from left strand in your right hand and the 1st from the left strand in your left hand. Your right hand goes all the way over all the strands to the right; your left hand goes over two strands to the center.
- Take the 2nd from right strand in your left hand and the 1st from the right strand (just a moment ago, this strand was the 2nd from the left…) in your right hand. Your left hand goes all the way over all the strands to the left; your right hand goes over two strands to the center.
- repeat ’til finished. Tuck ends under.
* Click on images to see larger views and more braiding photos
** I could never have managed this without looking at the following several times:
Because there is so much sugar in this festive bread dough, the yeast is very active and it takes no time at all for it to rise, even in a cool kitchen (ours is around 15C right now).
Admittedly, this particular bread was allowed to rise too much and flattened out. Even so, it was completely delicious.
Isn’t it wonderful that bread is very forgiving!
Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:
This post is partially mirrored on The Fresh Loaf
edit 24 January 2009: Following CAM’s suggestion in the comments below, we put together a video.