Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sweet Caramel Bread Plait

* I have just realised that when making these I actually tried a variety of shapes and the main one pictured isn't actually a plait! Hehe oops! To make that one, use a 300g ball of dough and after letting it rest roll out to a rectangle shape not too thin. Spread caramel over and roll up from one short end to the other. Make cuts about 3/4 through the roll about an inch apart all the way down the roll. Holding the first piece, take the second and turn it over to the opposite side, alternate each piece down the roll keeping the edge that is still in tact on the bottom. That was not the greatest explanation ever but if you don't understand and you really want to just contact me :).

I have been meaning to make some bread at home for a while now. I have been learning so much with my apprenticeship that I want to try it out at home (without all the commercial machinery at work). When I made the caramel last week I thought it would be a perfect chance to try a sweet bread dough with caramel filling!

I made two variations of plaits when I was baking this, a 3 strand plait and a 4 strand plait. I also mixed it up a bit a put some cinnamon sugar inside some of the strands instead of caramel. A 3 strand plait is pretty straightforward, you put strand 1 over strand 2, then strand 3 over strand 2 and repeat. A 4 strand plait is a little bit more tricky, you put strand 4 over 2, 1 over 3 then 2 over 3.

Sweet Caramel Bead Plait

What you will need

1 quantity caramel
500g plain flour
250mls cold water
50g caster sugar
10g instant active yeast
30ml oil
5g bread improver
5g salt

What you will need to do

In a bowl of a stand mixer place the flour and water. Using a dough hook attachment, mix for one minute on slow then leave for 20 minutes. Place the sugar, yeast, oil bread improver and salt into the bowl with the flour and water and mix on slow for another two minutes. Increase the speed and mix until the dough is soft and smooth. This might take a bit of grunt so if your mixer can't handle it, take the dough out and kneed until soft. Roll dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic. Leave bowl in a warm spot for an hour to increase in size.

Take dough out of the bowl and punch down on a floured surface. Cut dough into 9 equal parts. Roll each part into a small ball and place on a bench or tray covered in plastic for another 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, come back and roll out 3 balls of dough into long rectangles. Spread a thin layer of caramel onto the surfaces. Roll up the dough tightly to form 3 long rolls. Connect the rolls at one end and pinch together. Plait the strands and pinch together at the end. Place on a tray lined with baking paper and cover with a tea towel. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Leave all plaits on their trays covered with tea towels for another 30 minutes or until a small indentation is left when you gently press on the dough. Preheat the oven to 220*C and once it reaches temperature place a tray into the oven. Toss a handful of ice onto the bottom tray in the oven and turn heat down to 200*C. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden on top. Remove from the tray and cool on wire rack. Brush a small amount of caramel that has been warmed in the microwave over the top of the plait for a nice glossy shine. Repeat with all the trays of plaits.

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