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Basket Bread

A couple of days back, I was going through some restaurant pictures clicked by a friend of mine, when I saw a basket made of bread. Needless to say, I just couldn't wait to try it out myself. After a lot of browsing, all I could find was a pictorial instruction about weaving the basket but no recipe

Ingredients
  

  • 2 teaspoons Dry yeast
  • 1 cup Water Lukewarm
  • 4 - 4 - 1/2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Sugar Granulated
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Egg yolk (reserve the white for the egg wash)
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable oil

Instructions
 

  • Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a small bowl, and add a healthy pinch of sugar. Stir to dissolve the yeast and let stand until you see a thin frothy layer across the top. This means that the yeast is active and ready to use. (If you do not see this or if your yeast won't dissolve, it has likely expired and you'll need to purchase new yeast.).
  • Whisk together 4 cups of the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl.
  • Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs, egg yolk, and oil. Whisk these together to form a slurry, pulling in a little flour from the sides of the bowl.
  • Pour the yeast mixture over the egg slurry and knead till you get a soft, smooth dough that can be shaped into a ball. Keep adding flour in between if it is too sticky.
  • Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place somewhere warm. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Take a heatproof bowl and cover with oil or aluminium foil as shown in the picture. Keep the bowl aside. Also take the measurement of the rim of the bowl so that you can make the rim of the basket .
  • Once the dough has risen, roll out the dough into a 1/2 " thick, long rectangular shape .
  • Cut into thin strips as shown in picture .
  • Take the strips and place them on top of the bowl as shown in the picture. You may cut off the excess strip of dough at the end of the bowl. Flatten the dough on top of the bowl with your hand .
  • Starting from the top, take a strip and place one end under the vertical strip. Take above the next vertical strip and then under next vertical strip as shown in the illustration. Keep weaving till you reach where you started. Pinch both the ends together and cut off excess dough, if any. Take the next strip and repeat the process, but make sure you start from the next vertical strip so that it looks like a basket. Once the entire basket is woven, keep aside for an hour or till it doubles in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Beat the eggwhite with a tablespoon of water and brush all over the basket. Make sure every nook and corner of the basket is well coated evenly.
  • Place the basket in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or till the bread turn golden brown in colour.
  • Once cool, remove the basket from the bowl carefully.
  • Meanwhile make a braid with three strips to for the rim of the basket as well as the handle. Place the braid for the rim in a circular shape and join both the ends by pinching them together. Brush with the egg wash and bake till golden brown.
  • Take the bowl and place it upside down like we kept for the basket. Place the remaining braid on the bowl with and end starting from one end of the bowl and ending on the opposite. It should like like a handle. Brush with the egg wash and bake till golden brown.
  • Once the rim and handle are cooled, secure them on the basket using toothpicks. Your Basket Bread is ready. :).