Sometimes you just need carbs. And sometimes, you need those carbs to come with meat and cheese. Wrapped in fresh baked bread. Sometimes, you just need that.
I tried this for the first time three years ago. Why? Because I’m not a normal 20-something guy. Apparently, I should have been shotgunning beers at Buffalo Wild Wings. Nope. Making bread. #hairflip
I was a little confident because, I tried it without a stand mixer. Let me tell you. That is funny. If you’re using a hand mixer with normal beaters, the dough is literally going to attack your face with animalistic ferocity. Try it. YouTube yourself so we can laugh together as a family.
If you have a stand mixer, this is cake. Figuratively.
Braided Sandwich Bread
2 Packages of Dry Yeast
1/3 Cup Lukewarm Water
1 Cup Cold Water
1 Cup Boiling Water
1 Tablespoon Butter
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Salt
6-7 Cups Flour
Ex. Deli Ham & Swiss
Turkey & Cheddar
Spinach and Feta (Insert drool mark)
Now, don’t be intimidated. You’re going to start this and forget all about how ugly and stupid all your coworkers. And that one girl’s hair with THOSE shoes? Yeah, you’re gonna forget about this and only think about carbs.
Start by mixing your yeast with the lukewarm water. In the bottom of your mixer, smash the salt, butter, and sugar with a fork until it looks like BFF’s.
Pour in the boiling water.
Pour in the cold water.
Pour in the yeast water.
Mix it well with your fork and let it “activate” for about 5-10 minutes. Your yeast will get all foamy and basically audibly tell you that it’s ready to get down to business (Pictured Right).
One cup at a time, add your flour and begin mixing with your bread hook attachment.
Eyeball this. It’s going to be so easy. When the dough starts to pull away from the bowl, then you know you have enough flour. Until then…the more, the merrier.
Once you’re satisfied, cover the dough in the bowl and let it rise in a warm place until it has about doubled in size.
Go watch Orange is the New Black. Root for Crazy Eyes. Tell her I love her. And her hair.
On a large, cleaned counter, dust it with flour and split your dough in equal parts. Cover everything you can in flour. Not really. #messy.
Begin to roll out your first portion into a large rectangle. On each “long side,” cut one inch strips towards the center of the bread. This will be your braid.
On my bread, because I’m super health conscious, I made a little garlic butter with some Italian seasoning and coated the inside at this point. Up to you.
Dice up some sandwich meat and shred a little cheese in the middle and fold each strip across the other. (Like the picture). I've made this a lot and trust me, it works so much better with freshly shredded cheese. I'm assuming it's because bagged cheese has less moisture? Your guess is as good as mine.
Once you’re done, transfer it to a cookie sheet and cover it with butter and whatever “toppings” you would like (ie. Italian seasoning, poppy seeds, cheese). If you'd like to not use butter...First of all, whatever. Second of all, whisk one egg with just a teensy bit of water. Brush the loaf completely with this egg wash to make sure it's golden and delicious instead of dry and sad.
Repeat the process with your other lump of joy!
Put both your bread loaves into the oven on the lowest temperature you can go. Usually, 170 but, if your oven has a “Warm” setting, that works great too.
When you’re satisfied with how much the bread has risen, raise the temperature to 400 and bake for about 20 minutes (If you need to put one loaf on each rack, switch them halfway through). You’ll know the bread is done by tapping it with your finger. If it sounds hollow, it’s ready to do the Charleston. That’s a fun and funky dance that your mouth will appreciate.
Let it cool for a few minutes and #Enjoy!
This can be really delicious dipped in a little spicy mustard or soup. Or let's go crazy and just eat it by itself. Let's get serious, it's just delicious!