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Sliced braided sweet yeast bread BRAIDED SWEET YEAST BREAD

Serve this traditional Finnish coffee bread fresh from the oven with coffee or tea.

½ portion of basic sweet yeast dough
1 egg for glazing
chopped or flaked almonds for garnish
sanding sugar or regular granulated sugar for garnish
additional ingredients (may be omitted):
50 - 75 ml currants, dark raisins or sultanas
50 - 75 ml canned or candied maraschino cherries, chopped
50 - 75 ml candied citron, orange or lemon peel, chopped

Prepare a basic sweet yeast dough according to the instructions given here.
Note: when making the dough, preferably use coarse wheat flour instead of fine and make the dough a bit stiffer by using a bit more flour than stated in the recipe.

After leavening the dough until doubled in size, punch it down and lightly knead it. Also knead in the currants, cherries and/or lemon peel, if you are using any. Knead until the fruit are evenly distributed in the dough.

Divide the dough into three (if plaiting with three strands) or two (if plaiting with four strands) equal pieces and roll them each into long ropes of equal length. Braid/plait the ropes into a long bread shape, pinching the ends together, like shown in the pictures below.

Sweet yeast braid
Sweet yeast bread plaited with three strands

Sweet yeast braid
Sweet yeast bread plaited with four strands

For braiding/plaiting with four strands, see the illustrated instructions at the bottom of this page.

Place the braid on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, cover with a damp towel and let rise for about 30 minutes or until approximately doubled in size.

Decorated sweet yeast braid Brush the braid with lightly beaten egg, sprinkle generously with chopped or flaked almonds and sugar, like shown in the picture on right. Bake the braid at 200 °C for about 20 minutes, or until the braid feels firm and the top is dark golden brown, see the picture below.

Braided sweet yeast bread Let the braid cool for a while, lightly covered with a towel, until it is firm enough to be sliced. Serve the braid while still warm, with coffee or tea.

Like all wheat bread products, the wheat braid is best eaten on the day of baking.

The braid can be frozen, although freezing slightly worsens its consistency and taste. To defrost, warm the frozen braid in cool oven (under 100 °C) in a heatproof, tightly closed plastic bag. Eat immediately.

Recipe source: traditional Finnish recipe.

Instructions for braiding/plaiting a bread with four strands

There are several different ways of braiding with four strands. One method is explained below.

Figure 1 Arrow Figure 2 Arrow Figure 3
Figure 1   Figure 2   Figure 3

1. Divide the dough into two equal parts and roll them into two long ropes of about equal length. Fold the two ropes as shown in figure 1. The resulting four strands are numbered from 1 to 4.
2. Move and turn strand 3 upwards as shown in figures 1 and 2.
3. Move strand 1 to the right over strands 2 and 4 (see figures 2 and 3).

Arrow Figure 4 Arrow Figure 5 Arrow Figure 6
  Figure 4   Figure 5   Figure 6

4. Return strand 3 down, placing it between strands 2 and 4 (see figures 3 and 4).
5. Move strand 4 by folding it upwards over strand 1 (see figures 4 and 5).
6. Move strand 2 to the right over strands 3 and 1 (see figures 5 and 6).

Arrow Figure 7 Arrow Figure 8 Arrow Figure 9 Arrow Figure 10
  Figure 7   Figure 8   Figure 9   Figure 10

7. Return strand 4 down, placing it between strands 3 and 1 (see figures 6 and 7).
8. Continue braiding by following the pattern of first moving and folding the third strand from the left upwards, then moving the strand on the utmost left to the utmost right crossing the two strands below. Then return the folded-up strand down between the two strands on the left, and start all over again with folding upwards the third strand from the left, etc (see figures 7 to 10).
9. Pinch together the ends of the strands and fold slightly under the finished braid to give it a uniform shape.


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