Monday, 18 November 2013

Lemongrass and Ginger Braided Bread

There's this picture of me as a child with braided hair, grinning with my mother.  I hated doing anything with my hair when I was small.  I wouldn't even let anyone comb it except for my sister.  My hair was always a mess and only my sister could comb it painlessly.  But I remember my mother braiding it on a few occasions with me wincing in pain like a baby.  I rarely braid my hair now.

My mother used to also make the best of breads.  See, she would spend ages perfecting a recipe, and then she would never make it again.  That's how it was with her sourdough breads and her ricottas and her cakes.  And then that's it.  Weeks of sourdough breads and then you reach that peak of perfection and that's it.  I miss my mother's breads.  I miss her braiding my hair, I miss her.  Making bread always reminds me of my mother.
I brought this bread to an  Italian themed dinner that was meant to cater for a girl that was allergic to wheat and a girl that was allergic to gluten.  Yea, I was an inconsiderate idiot.  Still tasted good though.

makes 2 loaves
750g flour
2 tbsp lemongrass oil
2 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tbsp dried yeast
450ml hand hot water
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp salt
milk for brushing

In a large bowl, fill with water, add yeast and sugar.   Leave to rest for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

Add flour, minced ginger, oil and salt. Mix until you form a dough then turn out on a floured surface to knead until smooth - about 10 minutes.   Put in an oiled bowl, cover and wait until doubled in volume, about 1-2 hours. 

Punch the dough down, knead a couple of times more, then divide the dough in two. 

Take one dough and divide into three equal pieces.  Shape each into a long thin sausage.  Pinch the three strands together at one end and plait loosely down the length, like you would do braiding your hair.  Pinch the ends together to hold in place.  Put on greased baking tin and cover loosely with an oiled cling film.  Repeat with the second dough and leave to rest in a warm place for about 1 hour. 

Preheat oven to 220C.  Brush loaves with milk and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until golden, and when you take the bread out, tap it underneath with your knuckles, it should sound hollow.

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