zaterdag 25 januari 2014

La treccia - braided sage bread

Making your bread is one of the most satisfying arts I can think of. Your house will smell ever so nice and nothing compares to the taste of fresh bread.

It takes time though, but I´ll make it easy on you. If you don´t want to set your own dough, the stores are full of ready made mixes.

500 g. flour
1 sachet of dried yeast
3 teaspoons of salt
1 spoon of olive oil
10 leaves of fresh sage, chopped
250 ml. tepid water

Easy version:
Buy a bag of ready for use bread mix and follow the directions on the package until after the first rise.

Mix the flour, the salt, the yeast and the sage and make a hole in the middle. Add the olive oil and 1/3 of the water. Knead well until all the water is absorbed. Add another third and repeat the above. Add the last part of the water and knead the dough until it´s no longer sticky. The dough must feel flexible. If not, add a little water, but be careful, it may not become too soft.
Leave the dough to rise for at least one hour.

Then knead it again. If you have chosen the ready-made mix, you add the sage now, knead well.
Divide the dough into three parts and form three rolls by rolling it until it has stretched out.
Braid the dough by folding one layer over the other.

Cover the treccia (which is Italian for braid) with a clean towel (you can put a little flour on the towel to prevent it from sticking to the dough). Leave it to rise for another hour.

Heat the oven to 200°C. Put the treccia in the middle of the preheated oven for ten minutes. Then lower the heat to 180°C and bake for another ten minutes. The bread must sound hollow when you knock on it.

  • Add some chopped garlic at the same time as the sage.
  • Add grated parmiggiano at the same time as the sage.
  • When you´re not vegetarian, add small pieces salami or ham when you knead the second time.
  • When you are a vegetarian, replace the salami by chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Replace the sage by chopped rosemary, but be careful for you easily use too much.

The treccia with sage goes very nice with:
Grape, pear or apple jelly
A not too spicy cheese, like provolone dolce
Thinly sliced veal or cooked ham.

The rosemary variant goes great with mint jelly, a beef stew, or, for the vegetarians, with an apple compote.

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