Double Decker Braided Loaf


In those good old days when my city was called "Bombay" and I was about 8 to 9 years old, nothing in my care-free and innocent life gave me as much excitement and joy as the thought of riding in a double decker bus. I was absolutely crazy about those match box shaped huge buses. I still am. My parents used to have a harrowing time trying to convince, coax and scold me to board the first bus that would take us home.

My love for these double decker buses hasn't changed even after all these years. A couple of years back while I was still working, we had the option of either taking the usual bus from my workplace to the train station or waiting for the double decker. Everyday while leaving from work, my mind used to order me to take the first bus available as I had to cook dinner once I reached home. Ohhhh but that childhood urge. People say that the child within you never vanishes completely. So true! Those 10 minutes of ride in my favorite bus had given me so much contentment, a break from all the day's stress. I miss those moments!

When I first saw this bread, I instantly got reminded of my childhood love and therefore decided to rename it to a Double Decker Braided Loaf. Otherwise, it's called a Celebration Bread. This bread is made in two parts, one three braided loaf and the other again a three braided loaf that is twice the size of the first one. The two braided loaves are then combined together with the smaller loaf being on top of the larger one. So easy!

Makes one large loaf

610 grams / 21.5 ounces bread flour or strong white flour
3+1/4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 + 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg at room temperature, slightly beaten
3+1/4 tablespoons butter at room temperature.
350 to 385 grams / 13 to 14 fl ounces at room temperature (you might need more or less depending on your flour type).
1 small egg at room temperature, whisked until frothy (for egg wash)

Please click here and follow the steps till the initial proofing stage. Once the dough has doubled in size, remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes to expel all the air bubbles.

Divide the dough in three equal pieces. Now combine two of the three pieces and knead them for about two minutes or till they are combined thoroughly. You now have a large piece and another smaller one.

Divide the larger piece of dough into three equal pieces. Similarly, divide the smaller dough into three equal pieces. You now have in total six pieces of dough, three large ones and the other three smaller ones.

Using the three larger dough pieces, form a three braided loaf as shown here. Shape the three smaller loaves into a three braided loaf as well. You now have two three braided loaves, one larger one and the other smaller.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the larger three braided loaf on the baking sheet. Place the smaller three braided loaf on top of the larger one. Make sure that the smaller loaf is centered.

Brush the loaves with the egg wash ensuring that the egg wash does not drip on the baking sheet as it may prevent proper proofing of the loaves. Place the egg wash in the refrigerator to be used again. Keep the dough uncovered and let it double in size.

Once the double decker loaf is almost doubled in size, preheat the oven to 175 degrees C / 350 degrees F.

Brush the loaf once again with the egg wash and bake in the preheated oven for an hour or so or until the bread is golden brown on all sides and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom with your knuckles. Alternatively, you can check if the bread is done with a food thermometer as well. It should register at least 95 degrees C / 190 degrees F.

Remove the bread from the baking sheet and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy your home made Double Decker Braided Loaf!

Storage Suggestions: This bread can be stored at room temperature in an air tight zip lock bag for up to 3 days or frozen for up to a month.

Happy Baking!!!

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