Eight Strand Plaited Loaf

I have been inspired by this series of 'The Great British Bake Off' to try and be more adventurous with my recipe choices. I've made this loaf about five times now and I'm always pleased with the results.

500g strong bread flour
2 x7g sachet fast action dried yeast
10g salt
olive oil
340ml warm water

extra flour for dusting
oil for greasing the bowl
1 egg for the glaze

1. Place your flour in a large mixing bowl. Add your yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other. Stir the ingredients together.
2. Add a good splash of olive oil. Add three quarters of the water to the bowl and mix together. Then add the rest of the water to make a dough.
3. Flour your work surface and turn the dough on to it. Knead for 10 minutes.
4. Oil your mixing bowl and place your dough to it. Cover in cling film and leave in a warm place for an hour. 
5. When risen, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knock back. 
6. Divide into eight equal pieces. Roll them out into strands.
7. Lay the strands out, all joined at one point at the top. Then plait, using these steps:
Step 1: place 8 under 7 and over 1
Step 2: place 8 over 5

Step 3: place 2 under 3 and over 8
Step 4: place 1 over 4
Step 5: place 7 under 6 and over 1
Repeat steps 2-5 until the dough is all plaited.
8.Tuck the ends under the loaf. Line a tray with greaseproof baking paper and place the dough on there. Leave to prove for another hour.
9. Brush generously with beaten egg. 
10. Bake in a 180 oven for 25-30 minutes. 

Here are some photographs I took of today's loaf!
My dough

After first prove

My plaited loaf

My plait, after second prove

After baking!

It went a bit wide at the bottom today and it was quite pale. The loaf was very pale underneath. But all in all, I was happy with today's loaf! 

X Bo


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