Sunday, May 2, 2010

Braided Loaf with Muhammara

This week I'm a bit short on time, so I decided to make a loaf of bread using the dough I stashed in the freezer a couple of weeks ago. 

Braided Loaf
olive oil
herbs (optional)

If the dough is frozen, let thaw in the fridge overnight.  Let the thawed dough rest on the counter for 1/2 hour.  Divide dough into three portions, and roll each into a long snake.  Braid the snakes into a loaf, starting at the center and braiding to the end, then turning the loaf around to braid the other half.  Brush with olive oil on both sides, and place on baking sheet.  Cover with a towel, and let rise in a warm place until the dough looks ripe and nearly doubled.  Sprinkle with salt  and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40, or until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.   

What I Learned:
Despite the mummified appearance, the loaf had a good crust and even crumb.  Next time I will take a picture of the cut loaf.  Frozen dough didn't seem to rise as quickly as freshly made dough.

I did take a picture of the sliced bread: here it is topped with Mahammara (recipe below)

Muhammara (Pomegranate and Walnut Spread)

1 1/2 C walnuts, toasted and chopped
2 1/2 T Turkish seedless red pepper paste (used Mamoun's)
1 1/2 T pomegranate molasses
1 t crushed garlic
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cumin
1/3 C olive oil

Blend 1/2 C walnuts, molasses, garlic, salt, and cumin in blender or food processor, gradually adding oil.  Combine with remaining walnuts in a bowl.  Serve with toasted pita bread, crackers or as a condiment.

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