This is a super easy recipe which will wow your friends as it looks like it takes hours to prep and plait but in reality it just takes a few moments to plait it and if it goes wrong you can cheat it by pulling around the strands of dough until it looks alright! This recipe is taken from the John Whaite Bakes book – BBC 2’s Great British Bake off winner.
- 500g strong white flour
- 7g fast action yeast (1 packet worth)
- 10 g salt (1 teaspoon)
- 300ml tepid water
- 1 egg yolk beaten with a pinch of salt for glazing
- Put the ingredients (except for the egg yolk) into a bowl and bring together into a rough dough. Knead by hand for ten mins or in a mixer with bread hooks for about 6 mins until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Place into an oiled bowl and allow to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.
- Turn the dough out and divide into 6 balls and roll these out into long sausage shapes of the same length. Press all the pieces of dough together at one end and begin the plait starting on whichever side takes your fancy. Take the outermost strand and place it under the next two, over the next one and then under the final two. Take the next outermost strand (always from the same side!) and repeat. Then tuck the ends under to neaten them off. Leave the loaf to prove for about an hour. Preheat the oven to 230C or gas mark 8.
- When the loaf has doubled in size glaze with the egg yolk and bake for about 30 mins or until bronzed. Once cooked it should have a hollow sound when you tap the bottom.
- Slice, slather with butter and enjoy with a cuppa!