Cinnamon Braided Bread
3 cups flour
1 cup milk
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp salt
1+1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp sugar
For the filling:
1/3 cup soft butter
6 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
3 tsp cinnamon powder
In lukewarm milk mix the sugar and yeast and set aside for 5 minutes.
Mix the salt with the flour. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the yeast mixture, egg, and melted butter. Mix well. Knead for 5 to 6 minutes. If it is too sticky, add more flour. Knead until you have a smooth soft dough. The dough will spring back if you push it with your finger.
Now put the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover and let it proof for 2 hours.
Mix the ingredients for the filling in a small bowl. Take the dough out and punch it down.
Roll it into thin rectangles and spread the cinnamon mixture and roll it and cut it in the middle. Braid it and twist it like how its shown in the pictures.
Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let it proof for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
Brush the bread lightly with egg. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until brown.
Watermelon shaped bread
4 cups flour
1+1/2 tsp yeast
1+1/3 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup spinach purée
1/3 cup beet purée.
A few drops of dark pink and green food colour
Boil the beet until soft and purée it.
Boil water in a medium size pot and add the spinach. Blanch it for 30 seconds. Take the spinach out and immediately put the spinach in iced water. Drain and purée the spinach.
In warm water add the sugar and the yeast. Let it foam for few minutes.
Take 2.5 cups of the flour, mix the salt in it. Add the yeast mixture and the melted butter. It will be a very wet dough. Now you have to make portions for the colours.
The beet or red portions will be the largest. Take a bigger portion of that mixture and mix the beet and pink food colour in it. Also add the raisins, as it will resemble the seeds.
With the rest of the amount make equal portions for the white and green parts of watermelon.
Add the spinach purée and green colour in one portion. Now add the rest of the flour in all the portions and knead them separately.
If needed, add more flour. Don't worry about adding more flour. The aim is to make a smooth and soft dough.
Let it proof for 2 to 3 hours. Once proofed punch them down.
Make a log with the pink dough. Roll the white dough big enough to roll or wrap the pink dough in. Brush both the doughs with milk and cover the pink dough with the white dough.
Follow the same order with the green dough.
Put the dough in your oiled bread pan and let it proof for one to two hours, until doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Once baked let it cool for 20 minutes before you slice it.
Note: You can skip adding beet and spinach and make the bread with colours only. In that case, add extra water to knead the dough. Any bread you make, the water content will always vary with the kind of flour you are using. Remember that a wet and sticky dough makes softer bread. If your dough seems too sticky, add enough flour just to make it manageable. Adding more flour doesn't compromise the taste. All you have to do is proof it longer so the yeast can make it rise.