After a glorious weekend, the weather’s now cold and rainy again. I suppose this is how everything stays so lush and green in Switzerland. I hate walking in the city in my work shoes when it’s raining. My feet get soaked within 10 minutes. I better remember to wear my boots to work tomorrow.
When the weather is cold outside and I’m tired, I tend to hole up indoors and just stuff my face with food. I just polished off half a box of cereal while surfing the web, and that was AFTER dinner. Crunchy foods are just so addicting…
At least I wasn’t surfing Pinterest for yummy pictures of food. At least, not today. But I WAS thinking of Red Bean Braided Bread as I browsed the grocery store ads to see what’s on sale this week. As I mentioned last time, I had some red bean paste left over from making Red Bean Buns, so I scoured the internet and found a delightful recipe for Red Bean Braided Bread, courtesy of Happy Home Baking.
There was an option to knead the dough using a bread machine–which I don’t own–so I just made mine the old-fashioned way. Even with kneading by hand, the recipe was surprisingly easy to follow and yielded great results. I made one large loaf instead of two smaller ones, because I didn’t think I had enough red bean filling for two loaves.
In my attempt to cheap out with regular ingredients, I didn’t use any special bread or cake flour–just plain white flour–so the bread came out a bit crumbly and not as chewy and light as it probably should have been. I also couldn’t find any white sesame seeds, so I left those out.
The egg wash made the outside of the bread look really dark, and I was a bit afraid that I had burned it at first. But when I sliced through the loaf, it turned out fine. And I think the contrasting colors made the bread even prettier. 😀
So here it is, folks! Very pretty to look at and very yummy to eat. Enjoy, and En Guete!
Red Bean Braided Bread
Makes 2 small loaves, but I made one large one instead.
- 150 g bread flour (I didn’t use any special flour, just 300 g of white flour)
- 150 g cake flour (See above, I just used regular flour)
- 5 g active dry yeast (I used instant yeast)
- 3 g salt
- 125 g milk
- 1 egg
- 60 g caster sugar
- 50 g butter
- red bean paste
- white sesame seeds for topping (I didn’t have any, so I left this out)
- Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, make a well in the center. Add in milk, egg and butter. Mix into a dough.
- Place dough on a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough until the gluten is fully developed and the dough is elastic, smooth and non-sticky. It will take about 25~30 mins to knead the dough by hand. Initially the dough will stick on to the work surface. Do not be tempted to add more flour. After continuous kneading, the dough will no longer stick to the work surface.
- Remove dough from bread plan, smooth into a round ball and place it in a lightly greased mixing bowl. Cover with a damp towel or cling wrap. Allow the dough to rise until double in bulk. This will take about 1~1.5 hrs.
- Take out the dough and punch out the gas produced. Let the dough rest for about 15 minutes. Divide the dough into two equal portions. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough into a rectangle, about 12 by 9 inches. Spread red bean paste in a 2~3 inch strip lengthwise down the centre.
- On each side of the filling, make 1~1.5 inch wide diagonal cuts in the dough. Starting at the top, fold dough strips over filling, alternating left and right sides. Seal the seams tightly. Repeat the same for the other portion. Transfer both dough on a greased baking tray (or lined with parchment paper), cover with a clean towel and leave to rise for about 45mins.
- Glaze with a little beaten egg and a drop of milk (or water).
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds. (I didn’t have any, so I didn’t do this.) Bake for about 30~35 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 deg C until golden brown. Let cool on wire rack.