Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Posted by BAKE-EN at 2:27 PM
Ahh, the sour cream braid; so pretty, so delicious and so...easy. Easy? Surprisingly so. Beth Hensperger's Sour Cream Braid recipe is shockingly simple. By means of a food processor you can have your dough made in well under 15 minutes (including time to proof your yeast). Then all you have to do is proof the dough for an hour, braid it, proof again, egg wash and sprinkle with cardamom sugar and then bake. Seriously, it is as easy as it sounds. Anyone who's fearful of bread should put their fear aside and make this. You'll feel like a pro.
I followed the recipe nearly to the T. It calls for sour cream, but I used low fat sour cream because that's what I had on hand. Once the dough had proofed I divided the dough into 6 ropes and made two separate braids (I froze one). Lastly, I used demerara sugar instead of granulated in the sugar crust.
Overall this is excellent bread. It has a tight crumb, but is moist with a slight sweetness (due to the sugar crust). The demerara and cardamom made it interesting, but not unapproachable to a person who doesn't like that sort of fanciness. I will make this bread again.
Sour Cream Braid from Beth Hensperger's The Bread Bible
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 1/2 tsps active dry yeast
2 tbsps plus 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup cold milk
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
3 cups AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) room temp unsalted butter cut into pieces
1. In a 1-cup-measure pour in the warm water. Sprinkle with yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar. Stir to dissolve
and let stand till foamy about 10 minutes.
In a small bowl whisk ingredients milk through almond extract together. Add the yeast mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring to combine.
2. In a food processor bowl with a blade combine flour, 2 tbsps sugar and salt. Dot the top with butter pieces. Process 10 seconds. With the motor running, pour the yeast-milk mixture through the feed tube in a steady stream. After the dough forms a soft, elastic ball and clears the sides of the bowl, process 45 seconds more to knead.
3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and give it a few kneads. Place the dough in a lightly greased container, cover with wrap. Let rise till doubled in bulk about 1 hour.
4. Divide dough into 3 portions (I did 6). Shape each into a 12" rope tapered at each end. Form into a braid.
Let proof till doubled in bulk about 45 minutes on your baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water
1 heaping tbsp sugar (use demerara, you won't regret it)
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
5. Twenty minutes before baking preheat oven to 375. Combine sugar and cardamom in a small bowl. Gently brush the surface of the dough with the egg glaze. Sprinkle sugar mixture all over dough.
Bake in the center of the oven for 35-40 minutes.