I think it’s winter

Snowy tree

Snowy tree

(I’m about to post yet another recipe so I felt compelled to post something else before that…)

Tricolour braided bread

Braided bread

Get Ur Freak Bread On

I saw this recipe some time ago and the bread looked so odd that I knew I’d have to try it. (I like odd recipes.)

In truth, I’m not much of a bread-baker: I tried making a beetroot baguette a long time ago and it fell flat — literally. I ended up making buns (or oven-baked pancakes) since I couldn’t mould the dough at all. Too little flour, I know, but I followed the recipe! I got sick and tired of the dough too early but it seemed a hopeless endeavour at the time.

This time I was determined to get it right because I had planned to make the bread as a gift. I was even more determined after I forgot to buy a Plan B gift…

Here are the colourful ingredients (you can try and read the original recipe through Google Translate but I’ll fill in the gaps):

Basic dough
0.5 litres milk
50 g yeast
½ tablespoon salt
2 dl rolled oats (0.8-0.9 cups)
1.2 litres (wheat) flour
50 g butter

Yellow dough
1/3 of the basic dough
2 dl grated carrots
1 teaspoon turmeric
about 1½ decilitres additional flour (0.6 cups)

Red dough
1/3 of the basic dough
2 dl grated beetroot (I suppose you should use cooked or pickled; I put the same amount in beetroot purée which they sell here (they’re not baby food!). This is why I also used puréed carrot.)
about 1½ decilitres additional flour

Green dough
1/3 of the basic dough
2 dl grated zucchini (no green purée available, so I grated about half a zucchini)
1-2 tablespoons green pesto
about 1½ decilitres additional flour

Dissolve the yeast in warm milk (I decided to do this with dry yeast even though you’re supposed to mix it with flour first; no harm done, it seems). Add salt, rolled oats and the flour for the basic dough (1.2 litres was a bit too much for me so I had some left over (well under half a decilitre in any case); I just didn’t manage to mix it all in). Mix in butter.

Remember to buy the zucchini before starting making all this. I didn’t, and after I’d finished making the yellow and red dough I had to run to the store. (I don’t use or really even like zucchini so my eyes had probably skipped it when I was checking the recipe for ingredients to buy.)

Divide the dough in three parts and add “the food colourings” (each part in a separate bowl, of course): turmeric and carrot, beetroot, and zucchini and pesto. Mix in “a required amount” of flour, whatever that is. I ended up using about 2.5 decilitres for the parts with purée and 1.5-2 dl for the green part. That made the dough “manageable”, not too sticky or soft. This was my second time making bread (first one was a disaster, as mentioned) so I don’t know what’s enough or what the dough should look like. I just did what felt right. (Boy, did I wish I’d watched Mum bake bread…)

Allow them to rise. Usually double the size is recommended, I think, which takes maybe an hour, hour and a half (depending on the temperature). I went shopping for 3 hours at this point because I was on a schedule (preparations took longer than I’d expected, with the extra trip to the store and all).

Knead the dough a bit (I think you’re supposed to do this although the recipe doesn’t say), and make two braided bread loaves. Use flour on the table if the dough is sticky. Once they’re braided and on the baking sheet, it’s best to let them rest again (says Mum). I was in a hurry so I let them sit only for 15 minutes while the oven was warming up. Maybe the 3-hour break helped here because they rose quite a bit even in such a short time.

Bake them in 200°C for 40 minutes. I stuffed both loaves on the same sheet and they ended up being pretty snug but I didn’t have time to bake them for 40+40 minutes! It wasn’t a complete disaster though: they didn’t go overboard and they only fused together a little bit.

The pesto section was really yummy (I put a little more than instructed…)! The carrot and beetroot didn’t taste very much which is why I’ll have to try making this the “right” way, i.e. using fresh carrots and beetroot. I wasn’t too thrilled about getting myself and my lovely kitchen covered in pink spots (grating a beetroot does that) so I decided to use the purée. I think pickled beetroot could be quite nice. I was also thinking of adding tarragon to the carrot part since it goes well with carrot.

Baked bread

Baked bread

Yum! The gift was a success.

I think after this I’ll give the baguettes a second chance. Now I know what a bread dough is supposed to look and feel like.