Breads

Russian Rose braid

Russian rose bread

 

I love braids. I’ve had long hair since I was a kid. In fact, I don’t even remember cutting my hair short or sporting any hairstyle except mynatural length. The most I’ve done is trim it now and then. My hairstyle continues to be the same for the last two decades! How boring is that! I’ve sported a braid for as long as I remember. I do sometimes do a ponytail, but that’s as far as I’ve gone on the hair-styling front.

I think a lot of it had to do with my family. My mother has long hair and I’ve only always seen it braided up. All the aunts in my family have long hair, again all braided always. Growing up, my grandma always emphasised on our daily hair-care routine – oil the scalp and hair every morning and evening with coconut oil and braid it up.

Till I was 10 or 11 years old, I only washed my hair with a natural herb called shikakai. It doesn’t lather up like shampoo, nor does it smell like your typical synthetic hairwash does. In fact, it leaves some residue in your hair that you need to brush out once your hair dries. But it cleans well and is, well, natural. Those days though, I fought with amma to use shampoo and eventually succeeded. The result of that ‘success’ is now telling on the length and quality of my not-so-long hair. Still, I braid it up with glee.

Given my love of braiding, it wasn’t unusual that I took so to braiding bread as well. Although bread is braided in a lot many ways, the one braid I make almost always is the three-strand braid. The braided loaf and the Russian rose bread are the two most common ways I braid my bread. Both make for wonderful presentation and are fun to make too.

Russian rose bread

The Russian rose can be both savoury and sweet. I’m presenting both here today. For the sweet one, I’ve used a sweet cinnamon sugar filling and for the savoury, I’ve used a tangy mint and coriander chutney. Other savoury filling options could include tomato chutney/spread, sundried tomatoes, garlic and spring onion greens; sweet fillings could include almond butter, homemade jams, nutella or chopped chocolate.

The recipe given below is for the sweet cinnamon-sugar filling. If you’re making a savoury version, simply change the filling to one of your choice. You can also lightly spice your dough depending on the filling; I tend to add any combination of red chilli flakes or coarsely crushed pepper or chopped green chillies or chopped garlic or coriander leaves or dried herbs (oregano/basil/thyme/mint/kasuri methi ie. dried fenugreek leaves) to the dough when making savoury breads.

Russian Rose Braid

Adapted from My Diverse Kitchen

(Makes 1 medium-sized rose braid – 7-8 inches across or 2 small rose braids – each about 5 inches across)

INGREDIENTS

For the dough:

Plain flour – 1 ½ cups

Whole wheat flour – 1 ½ cups

Ground flax seeds – 1 tbsp

Active dry yeast – 1 ¾ tsp (or use 1 ½ tsp instant yeast)

Sugar – 2 tsp

Salt – ¾ tsp

Oil – 2-3 tbsp

White vinegar – 2 tsp

Warm water – 1 cup (plus up to ¼ cup, if required)

(Also keep grease and set aside a springform pan or loose bottomed pan of 7 inches for a large rose braid or two 5 inch pans for smaller braids. If you don’t have either, line your regular pan with parchment paper

For filling:

Butter – 50 gm (use almond/cashew paste thinned with 1-2 tsp of coconut oil for vegan version)

Granulated sugar – 1/3 cup (I used granulated brown sugar)

Powdered cinnamon – 2 tsp

 

METHOD

Add the yeast to ½ cup of warm water. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes for the yeast to prove

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl (along with instant yeast, if using)

Once the yeast turns all frothy, add it to the dry mix along with the remaining ½ cup of warm water. Mix the dough up. It should be soft and elastic, not sticky.

You can add up to ¼ cup of additional warm water if the dough seems too dry; but add only about a tablespoon at a time

Roll the dough into a ball, grease a large bowl (more than double the quantity of the dough), place the ball of dough in it and cover it. Let the dough rise till it nearly doubles (or almost fills the bowl)

Lightly sprinkle four on your work area and place the ball of dough on it. Roll it out into a thin large rectangle

Brush butter (or nut paste-oil combo) all over the rolled out dough leaving a border of a quarter of an inch all around. Mix cinnamon powder and sugar and sprinkle it uniformly over the buttered area

Roll the dough up tightly from the longer side (somewhat like a katti roll, only tighter) into a long cylinder. Using a sharp knife, cut through the dough so that it makes two long semi-cylinders that exposes the layers of the filling

Carefully adjust the halves so that the layers face upwards. Twist the two halves to make a single twisted rope

Keep your baking pan ready. Start coiling the twisted rope starting with its thinner end in the centre of the base of your springform pan. Once coiled, tuck the other end of the rope neatly underneath the braid. Place the springform around the base. If using a loose-bottomed pan, gently place the base into the greased pan

Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise once again till swollen and puffy (around 30 minutes). Take care not to proof it for too long, else the dough will start cracking while it proves, ruining the beautiful shaping

Bake the bread in a preheated oven at 200 deg C for 10 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 175 deg C and bake it for another 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of your bread. Remove the bread from pan and cool on wire rack before serving

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This is my post for alphabet R (Russia) for the blogging event titled Around the World in 30 Days , a special bi-annual version of the  Blogging Marathon hosted by Srivalli.

Sept BM logo

 

For more recipes from countries starting with the letter R, check out this link:

 

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11 thoughts on “Russian Rose braid

  1. Braid bread is so beautiful! Totally agree with on the hair. I use to fight with my mother about kunkudukaya to wash my hair. It is similar to shikakai and natural shampoo and doesn’t lather much. I used it until I got married and came to the US. I had beautiful long thick hair and now, lets say it is not as healthy as it was. You will see when we meet in few months.

  2. Your story on hair wash brought back childhood memories…but braiding..well I love to do that too, but no more with hair, it’s breads now, and this bread looks awesome …and I must say I am loving the pics.

  3. Oh miss that shikakai and my mother also never allowed us to use shampoos and those days I would itch to use shampoos and now it is the opposite. 🙂
    Those braided breads look wonderful and have bookmarked these.

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