Today I’m bringing to you the tradition of bread making with my recipe for homemade plait bread. I would like to dedicate this post to my late Grandmother Inez Glen, from West Ruimveldt Housing Scheme, Georgetown, Guyana. My grandmother was a master baker. She made the most delicious breads, cakes and pastries out of a homemade oven in her backyard. She passed down her cooking genes to all generations of our family and I am forever grateful that she gave us these traditions!
Bread making doesn’t have to be complicated
You don’t need fancy equipment to make plait bread! Yes, making your dough in a stand mixer with a dough hook makes life a bit easier, but it is not necessary for this plait bread recipe. This is not a quick bread. It needs time to rise, punch down and rise again before baking. But it is worth it. There is nothing better to me, than fresh baked bread, especially when paired with Pepperpot on Christmas morning. You don’t need a special occasion to make bread when it is this easy. I’m sure you have the ingredients in your pantry right now. Mix it up and let it rise, you could have plait bread in about 2 hours.
The Plait Bread Youtube Video:
Bread is always better with butter
If you watch the video you will see that I accidentally added 1/2 cup of butter to my dough for this plait bread instead of 1/4 cup (what I typically use) but it made the bread the softest bread I’ve ever made. No need to use 1/2 cup of butter though 1/4 of butter produces great results and is all you really need. Room temperature butter is better for this recipe but room temperature margarine or vegan butter works great too.
Other ways to roll the dough
If you are not a fan of plait bread, use this recipe to make two loaves of bread instead. After the first rise, punch down and knead the dough into a ball, then divide the dough ball in half and roll into two logs. Place on a greased baking sheet or in two loaf pans and let the dough rise again before baking. If you prefer wholewheat bread try this Guyanese Style Wholewheat Plait Bread recipe. It is an oldie but yields delicious results.
The Plait Bread Recipe:
- 1 tablespoon of dry active yeast
- 1¼ cup of warm water (110 °F)
- ¼ cup of brown sugar
- 3¼ cup of all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup of room temperature butter (ok to use vegan butter), plus 1 tablespoon for basting after baking
- Dissolve sugar in water then add yeast. Mix yeast into the water. Cover with a towel and set aside in a warm cool place to allow yeast to activate
- Add salt to flour
- Using a fork or your fingers cut butter into flour until a crumbly texture forms
- Form a well in the center of the flour and butter mixture then add the activated yeast mixture to the center of the well
- Mix together to slowly form a pancake batter consistency, using a whisk.
- Then use your hands or a rubber spatula to add the rest of the flour to the batter forming a soft dough
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes into a smooth ball
- Place dough into a greased container, cover with a towel and allow to rise until it doubles in size. This takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour
- When dough doubles in size, punch down and knead again into a smooth ball
- Cut a 2 inch piece of dough off from the ball and set aside
- Divide the remaining dough into 3 equal parts and roll into even logs that are about 1.5 feet long
- Plait pieces into a braid
- Roll the 2 inch piece of dough that was set aside earlier into a long strip
- Place strip on top of braid
- Grease a baking sheet and place the plaited dough on top of the sheet
- Cover and let rise for 45 minutes or until it doubles in size
- Preheat over to 350 degrees
- Bake bread for 20-25 minutes, until it is golden brown
- Remove from the oven and brush with 1 tablespoon of butter
- Cover with a towel and allow to cool completely before serving
After my bread cools I place it in a bread bag to keep it fresh.