Buttermilk bread is a favorite specialty bread, but many grocery stores don't carry fresh buttermilk until the holiday season. This recipe makes two small braided loaves that can be gifted or presented at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
Yield: 2 small braided loaves.
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 35 minutes
- 1-1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 2-1/4 tsp (1 pkg. or 1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp soft butter or margarine
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- 3 cups bread flour, about
- In medium bowl, mix buttermilk and yeast. Add honey, brown butter, and salt. Stir. Add 2 cups of bread flour and mix well. Slowly add in remaining flour, enough flour to make a dough that follows the spoon around the bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 4 minutes, adding more flour as needed until the dough is soft and smooth to the touch. Place dough in medium greased bowl. Turn dough over in bowl so that the top is also lightly greased. Cover with clean cloth and let rise in warm, draft-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Punch down dough. Turn dough out onto lightly floured board and knead for 4 minutes or until the bubbles are out of the bread. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough between your hands, making 6 ropes, about 8 inches long. Braid 3 strips together twice, making two small loaves of bread. Set braided loaves on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Bake loaves at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. Remove loaves from sheet and let cool on rack.
Bread Baking Tips:
- When honey is added to bread dough, it helps protect the baked bread's moisture.
- Store flour properly to keep it from spoiling.
- Lemon and orange zest can be gathered ahead of time. Make sure to only grate off the colored part of the peel. The white part, the pith, will make the bread bitter.
- You should keep yeast stored in an airtight container and in the refrigerator. Heat, moisture, and air kills the yeast and prevents bread dough from rising.
- To keep bread soft, store in a plastic bag.
- Spraying loaves with water while they bake will produce a crispy crust.
- Brush loaves with egg white before baking to produce a shiny crust.
- Brush loaves with milk before baking to produce a dark, shiny crust.
- Brush loaves with butter immediately after baking to produce a soft crust.
- Are you out of buttermilk? Use this buttermilk substitute recipe instead.