Posted by: Anja | January 27, 2011

French Cheese Braid

I actually do not know, why this bread is called “french cheese braid”. Braid, yes, that is pretty obvious. Cheese, yes, you can smell and taste that. French?! Just because it is white bread and made with cheese (suisse cheese, by the way!!!) does not (!) make it french. Maybe if I had put snails or frogs in there… ;)

Even though the name is a little bit misleading, at least to my mind, I think this bread is a must have for small get-togethers. It is especially nice to go with fingerfood like chicken wings or tiny meatballs, because it is not plain white bread, but has a distinct taste because of the cheese. It is actually not necessary to make a braid, but I think it would also be possible to create small biscuits instead if the baking time is reduced accordingly. Or tiny braids! The braiding really looks nice, doesn’t it?

French Cheese Braid
idea adapted from Cookie Baker Lynn

dough:
450g flour
2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
120g butter at room temperature
180ml water
3 eggs
170g suisse cheese
vegetable or canola oil

brushing:
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons of water

First step: In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Cut the butter into little pieces and knead them into the flour mixture. Heat the water until it is a little bit warmer than room temperature (about 30-35°C). Add the eggs and the water to the mixture and stir to incorporate everything. Knead the dough for about 3-5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.

Second step: Oil a large bowl lightly, put in the dough and wrap it up with plastic foil. Let it stand for about an hour.

Third step: Cut the suisse cheese into tiny pieces. Punch down the dough, add the cheese and knead for about a minute until the cheese is incorporated. Partition the dough into three parts and roll them into 35-50cm long dough strings. Oil a cookie sheet lightly and braid the dough strings on top of the sheet. Cover the braid with plastic foil and let it rise again for 45 minutes.

Fourth step: Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix an egg yolk and two tablespoons of water. Brush the braid with the mixture, there’ll probably be some leftovers. Put the braid into the oven and let it bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until it is a slight golden brown on top. Take it off the oven and let it cool down slightly or completely, however you prefer it.

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