If you are the bread loving type, there is nothing like homemade. I am one of those. And as we turn our attention to the upcoming school season and options for our kids’ lunch boxes, a loaf of fresh bread just seems right.
A favorite of ours is a sweet braided egg bread that is lovely for any lunch box, for an afternoon snack with butter and a drizzle of honey, and especially steals the show as French toast bread for breakfast. It is lightly sweetened with honey only, is dense from the eggs, and has the goodness of whole wheat flour. And, it’s the sort of thing that our kids love to help with, when it comes to the braiding part. Even our son now knows how to braid… an critical life skill, I’m certain of it. It also freezes well. You just need a little time and patience for this recipe, as it rests twice. It will be worth it.
- 4 cups flour (half all purpose, half whole wheat… I like pastry flour)
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk on hand – I never do – you can substitute it with 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 tsp lemon juice)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- In a mixing blow combine 2 cups of all-purpose flour and yeast.
- In a small saucepan, add the milk, buttermilk, honey and butter, and heat until the butter is melted. Pour over the flour mixture, combine, and let rest for about 10 minutes until the sticky dough starts to get spongy.
- To the mixture add the lightly beaten eggs and salt. With a dough hook on, start kneading, and slowly add the 2 cups of whole wheat flour. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and let it knead for about 3 minutes until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If it’s still sticky, add a bit more flour. It should be just slightly sticky to your fingers.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for an hour.
- Put risen dough on a lightly floured surface and divide into 3 balls, rolling each into a rope about 15 inches long. Braid the ropes on a greased cookie sheet, pinching the ends and tucking them under to seal.
- Cover again and let rest for about a half hour. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden, tenting with foil for the first 20. Let cool before slicing.