Many homemade bread recipes require milk and if you're lactose intolerant or have another concern about dairy products, it can be difficult to find a great recipe. Maybe you just ran out of milk. This easy braided white bread recipe is here to save the day because it is made without milk.
To create this milk-free loaf, a quick adjustment was made to the basic braided bread recipe. Essentially, it was as simple as replacing the milk with more water and using vegetable oil in place of butter. The result is a beautiful loaf of bread that anyone can eat.
Braided bread loaves are a lot of fun to make and you will only need to take one extra step in preparing the dough. If you can braid hair, you can braid bread dough. The finished loaves look spectacular and anyone you serve it to will be impressed by your baking skills.
- 1 1/4 cup water, room temperature
- 2 1/2 teaspoon (1 package / .25 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups bread flour (approximately)
Mixing the Dough
The first step in making any bread it to mix the ingredients and create the dough. You will do this and then wait an hour for the bread to rise.
- In a medium bowl, mix the water and yeast.
- Add the oil, sugar, and salt and stir.
- Add 2 cups of flour and mix well.
- Slowly add in the remaining flour. Do not add too much: just enough flour to make a dough that follows the spoon around the bowl.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 4 minutes. Add more flour as needed until the dough is soft and smooth to the touch.
- Place the dough in a medium-sized, greased bowl.
- Turn the dough over in the bowl so that the top is also lightly greased.
- Cover with a clean cloth and allow it to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
Preparing and Braiding the Dough
Once your dough has risen, it is time for the fun part. In this step, you will create three ropes of dough and braid them as if you were braiding hair. Again, once you're done, you will need to allow the braided loaf to rise before baking.
- Punch down the dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 4 minutes or until the bubbles are out of the bread.
- Divide the dough into three equal pieces.
- Roll each of the three pieces of dough between your hands, making three ropes of about 15 inches long.
- Line the strips up side-by-side on a floured board and pinch the top ends together.
- Braid the strips and pinch the bottom ends together.
- Set the braided loaf on greased baking sheet.
- Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
How to Adjust the Crust
Did you know that you can customize the type of crust on your bread? This is a great tip that can be used with many bread recipes and it's very easy.
- Crispy Crust: Spray the loaves with water while they bake.
- Shiny Crust: Brush the loaves with egg white before baking.
- Dark, Shiny Crust: Brush loaves with milk before baking.
- Soft Crust: Brush loaves with butter immediately after baking.
If you do none of these, you will still have a great crust, but some bakers prefer a particular crust.
It's Time to Bake
All of your hard work is about to pay off. Be sure that your oven is preheated before placing your loaves inside to ensure an accurate baking time.
- Bake the loaf at 350 F for 35 to 40 minutes or until the bread is golden brown.
- Remove the loaf from the sheet and let cool it on a rack.
5 Bread Baking Tips
To help you make the perfect bread for your needs, here are a few extra baking tips, tricks, and ideas.
- You can replace the water with either apple juice or milk.
- Add 1/2 cup of raisins or dried cranberries to the bread dough for extra sweetness.
- Keep your yeast stored in an airtight container and in the refrigerator. Heat, moisture, and air kills the yeast and prevents bread dough from rising.
- Bread flour has a higher amount of gluten than all-purpose flour. This means that bread made with bread flour will rise higher than bread made with all-purpose flour.
- You can make your own bread flour by adding 1 1/2 teaspoons gluten to each cup of all-purpose flour used in your bread recipe.
- The 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar in this recipe can be replaced with brown sugar, honey, molasses, or maple syrup.