“Etruscan” whole-grain wheat braid with mixed seeds

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(Photo courtesy of Riccardo Astolfi from his site http://pastamadre.blogspot.com/)

It has been awhile since we published a bread recipe and we keep getting requests to publish more of them. Enjoy!

Translation of recipe and recipe notes portions only into English. See full article in Italian: http://pastamadre.blogspot.com/2013/02/treccia-di-grano-etrusco-integrale-ai.html

I had just one package of “Etruscan” whole wheat flour in the pantry, which was awfully empty after a two-week bout with the flu. Having said that, a full braid decorated with the usual inevitable mixed seeds: sesame, flax, and pumpkin sounded wonderful. The recipe is the same, simple since it can’t be made simpler, but here it is, accessible also for the novice baker.

“Etruscan” whole-grain wheat braid with mixed seeds

(translations to ounces/cups are approximate)

  • 150 g (5 oz) of refreshed sourdough
  • 500 g (2 cups) of whole wheat flour “Etrusco”
  • 300 ml (1 ½ cups ) of water
  • a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • two teaspoons of sea salt
  • mixed seeds (sesame, flax, pumpkin, etc.) to decorate

Dissolve the yeast in the water and quickly begin to add the flour, mixing again. Towards the middle of dough, add the salt and oil, and continue to work until you have achieved a smooth and homogeneous texture. Let rise in a bowl covered at room temperature for 4-6 hours, until the mixture doubles in size.

Once doubled, divide the dough into three equal parts and form three long, thin loaves, then you are going to weave them together, forming a beautiful braid. Note from Lina: the braid looks lovely, but the bread will be wonderful if you simply just bake it as three loaves! (Suggestion from Lina to form the braid: stretch the three loaves a little bit until they are the same length and then lay them side by side to start the braid. Pinch the top of the three loaves together first, then you can start to create the braid pattern by folding one of the loaves from either side over the middle loaf as if braiding hair)

Arrange your braid on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, brush the surface lightly with a little water and decorate the loaf with seeds. Let the loaf rise a few more hours and then bake at 250 ° C (approximately 480 ° F). Bake for about 10 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 200 ° C (approximately 390 ° F) and cook for another 30 minutes. (Suggestion from Lina: let bread cool before serving as the braid will tend to fall apart if you try to serve too soon after baking).

A few words about “Etrusco“: It is a variety of “old” wheat, golden in color, rich in protein, “good” and essential micro-nutrients. Taking into account it’s not being exploited in the past by intensive agriculture, it has characteristics of good digestibility.

Ci sentiamo presto,

Lina

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