Jan Kooistra - Our Daily Bread
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Jan Kooistra
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Plunder Brot (Braided Butter Bread)



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Friday, November 10, 2006

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Plunder Brot (Braided Butter Bread)
Gourmet Archives

1 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into bits,
plus 3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 large whole egg
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups flour
An egg wash made by whisking 2 tablespoons beaten egg
with 1 teaspoon water

In a saucepan combine milk, 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unchilled butter, zest and vanilla.  Heat mixture over moderate heat, stirring, until butter is melted and let it cool until it is lukewarm.

In large bowl, proof yeast with 1 teaspoon sugar in 1/4 cup lukewarm water (105 to 115 F.) for 15 minutes or until mixture is foamy.  Whisk in milk mixture, remaining sugar, whole egg, egg yolks and salt.  Stir in enough of the flour to make a soft but not sticky dough.  Knead the dough on a floured surface for 8 to 10 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic, form it into a ball, and transfer it to a lightly buttered bowl, turning it to coat it with butter.  Let dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place, for 1 hour or until it is doubled in bulk.

Punch down the dough, roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a 16-by-12-inch rectangle and cut it into three 16-by-4-inch strips.  Roll out each strip into a 16-by-5-inch strip and dot the middle of each strip along its length with 1 tablespoon of the chilled butter bits.  Fold a long side of each strip over the butter to enclose it, and fold the other long side over it like an envelope.  Let the strips rest for 5 minutes.  Roll strips out again until they are 5 inches wide and again fold them lengthwise into envelopes in the same manner.  Braid the 3 rolls together seam sides down and tuck the ends under.  Put the braid in a lightly buttered loaf pan, 11 3/4-by-5 5/8-by-3 1/4-inches (2 1/2-quart capacity) and let it rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place for 30 minutes.  Brush the braid with the egg wash and bake it in a preheated 350 F. oven for 1 hour or until it sounds hollow when tapped.  (If bread is browning too fast, cover it loosely with foil.)  Let bread cool in pan on rack 30 minutes, turn it out onto rack and let it cool completely.


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