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Everything's coming up roses!

Friday, December 28, 2012

It's so nice being on leave. I have almost three weeks off from work and it coincides with the time my sister Joyce and her family are visiting from the US.
Last week, the day after they arrived, the whole family met at one of my brothers' homes for breakfast. My mother had ordered an array of local breakfast dishes like nasi lemak (coconut rice with sambal) and fried noodles as well as Indian specialities like tosai (rice and lentil pancakes), roti canai (flatbreads) and idli (steamed rice cakes) along with the accompanying chutneys and curries. I had a feeling these spice-rich and chilli-laden foods would not agree with my American brother-in-law, so I made a sweet breakfast bread for him.
A couple of days earlier, I had prepared some basic sweet yeasted dough from a recipe in Ciril Hitz book, Baking Artisan Pastries & Breads (Quarry Books) and used it for the bread. This video shows Ciril Hitz making his Russian braids in loaf pans. I made my bread according to his recipe except it's coiled to look somewhat like a rose.
The quantity of dough was sufficient for two loaves. I made the first one with about two-thirds of the dough and let it rise in a 22cm springform tin so it has a more defined shape (pictured above). This one I took to the office for a Christmas party.
Fill and roll, slice, braid, coil
The second loaf, which I made for Keith, was freestanding (pictured below). The crust was a deeper brown on the sides and the shape was a little less rose and a bit more knot, I think.
I'm sure any sweet yeast dough would be suitable for this braid. What I think is special is the Nut Filling that Ciril Hitz uses. It's also one of his basic recipes and he uses it for other confections in his book. The recipe is reproduced here with permission from the book publisher. I used almond meal and after spreading the paste on the rolled-out dough, I sprinkled on some ground cinnamon.
This braid was baked without a mould.
Both times I made the braid, I forgot to take a photo after the loaf was sliced, so there is no picture of the crumb. But it's not difficult to imagine the intertwined layers of dough and filling.
I also forgot to taste the bread both times. For the office party, I just dropped it off since I was already on leave, and at the family breakfast, after stuffing myself with a packet of nasi lemak and an idli, I didn't have room for anything else. But I have a feeling it wasn't bad since Keith kept eating it. (Or maybe he was just hungry!)


  1. What beautiful loaves of bread! I would keep eating it too if I am served with this:D Happy New Year and Happy Holiday...turning green with envy here!

  2. Gorgeous job! I have been wanting to bake one of these rose loaves - they are just so gorgeous!


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