Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bread Baking Babes Burst at the seams… Russian Rose Braid

a rose by any other name would smell as sweet ….. Even if it was baked with garlic and chives? Pesto? Cheese?

Our Kitchen Month Mama Tanna had us bake a savory one this month, or maybe this was about shaping. A great shape, a wonderful method and of course you could make it as sweet as can be and use cinnamon, butter and sugar. Or go wild with jam and fruits. I love savory so my first try was filled with pesto, ham, various grated cheeses and lots of chives. (I think “various grated cheese” sounds way better than: I dumped all bits and pieces I could find in the magimix).

And guess what? I overfilled!
Me, the ever too skimpy on everything overfilled my dough so after slicing it lengthwise (for which I used my metal bench scraper and simply pressed down) it just fanned open and wouldn't get back in shape, just like that annoying uncle unbuttoning after Thanksgiving dinner happy to release the pressure...  

Pictures are few and far between, at the time of baking all camera’s were otherwise engaged so I took pics with my tablet, just a few, because I thought I would have time to take proper pics the next day. Boy, was I wrong!! The next day son #3 had some friends over… they hadn’t had lunch… I suggested they could make toasted cheese sandwiches. They suggested to use this bread.

Which was a great suggestion. I came into the kitchen to help cut decent slices and all four of them gathered around and snatched the crust, the bits and pieces that fell next to my knife, like ducks in winter they helped themselves to the bread. Barely room to cut without endangering their fingers. Gobbled up the sandwiches in under 10 minutes.. boys! It was fun!



Adapted from  the Fresh Loaf

Yield: 1 loaf


Filling - the options are only limited by your imagination and what's in your kitchen!


300 grams bread flour
200 grams white whole wheat flour   or use a combo of your own imagination up to 600 gr total flourRussian Rose braid filled
100 grams sprouted wheat flour
2.1/4 tsp dry yeast (Fresh Yeast 28g (1oz)
1 Tbs Sugar 10g
1.1/4 tsp Salt 10g
50 grams Canola Oil
325 grams Water (approximate, depending on the flour you use)

Set oven to 210c (410F) /  Prep: Baking Pan - 26cm (10") springform (no bottom), take a piece of parchment paper and crimp tightly around the bottom of the springform, oil the sides.  Place on top of a baking sheet.  Set aside.

2. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl, add the water carefully as you start mixing.  Use the dough hook 2-3 mins. on low speed and 2-3 mins. on medium speed.  Dough should be supple and not sticky to the touch.  Add water or flour if dough is too stiff or too loose (respectively). When dough is ready, spray a bowl with oil and gently put the dough in the bowl.  Spray a little more oil on top and cover.  Let rise (80%) about 40 minutes to an hour.

3. Lightly flour your work area.   Flatten the dough gently with your hands.
Roll the dough as thin as you can using a floured rolling pin.
When rolling out the dough, try not to lift and move it too much.  You can try and gently pull the dough to stretch it thin like with Strudel.
Apply a thin layer of your filling on top of the dough (leave the edge clear 1/4").
Slowly, tightly and very gently roll the dough into a roulade (pinwheel ).  You will now have a very long roulade.

4. Take a sharp chef's knife (not a serrated knife) and cut (not saw) the roulade lengthwise trying to keep the knife in the middle so you end up with two equal parts (you can cut down from the seam but it is not make or break).

5. Place the two halves crossing each other (open roulade layers facing up) to create and X shape.  Gently pick up the two ends of the bottom half, cross them over the top half, and place them back down.  Continue this process, taking the two bottom ends and crossing them over the top until all the roulade has been used.

6. You now have a two strand rope shape.  If for some reason some of the open roulade layers are pointing down or sideways, carefully turn them so they are facing up.  Gently pinch the ends to seal. Look at the braid.  If one end looks a little thinner make that your starting point.  If not, just start from either end.  Slowly and very gently, roll the braid sideways (horizontally) without lifting your hands from the table.  You should keep those open roulade layers facing up. Pinch the end delicately.  The end result should look like a giant snail shell or a very large cinnamon bun.
Depending on your filling you may want to sprinkle on something (paprika, sumac, brown sugar & cinnamon).  Keep in mind you don't want to cover up the effect of the shaping.

7. Carefully pick up the braid and place in the prepared springform.  Keep it flat on the parchment.  The bottom of the braid should set nicely.
Cover. Let rise until the braid hits three quarters the way up the springform.  Depending upon the temp in your kitchen this may take from 20 to 40 minutes.

8. Bake at 210c (410F) for 5-10 mins.,
lower oven to 180c (355F) and bake for another 20-30 mins.
There should be a decent amount of oven spring.  The bread should rise above the springform edge.
When the bread is out of the oven lightly brush olive oil or butter on top and sides.
Let cool on a rack.Russian Rose braid twisted to rise

another from the FreshLoaf - this was done for Julia's Birthday and used the Julia's French Bread recipe
this is the YouTube video that Tanna found and got her enamored with it.  This shows it as a loaf but the technique of the cutting is the same for the rose.


9. You are welcome to bake this with all white flour or any combination of you like. Tanna’s changes reflect an attempt to incorporate more whole grains.


My notes:

- I could have used a bigger springform (which was stated in the recipe and I failed to see) because this thing rose to enormous proportions and had great ovenspring.
- Never should have used sliced ham, it fell apart at the ham and made a huge mess. My filling took a hike to the upper level (see pic above) and was concentrated in the crust which made for a lovely crust (ask the boys :-D) but I’d love to see some more evenly spread filling throughout the bread. Will absolutely make this one again!
- Slicing the roll was easier than I thought, just my mistake of filling but otherwise this would be very easy with great results in shaping
- Initially I used just 310 gr water in a 600 gr all white bread flour recipe, next time I will up the water a bit to make the dough a bit smoother/stickier. This was a wonderful dough but a bit hard to roll out.
- Just imagine the fillings you could add to it!


World Bread Day

This one is also going on to World Bread Day 2012 which is today!! This post is going to be timed so I wasn’t able to insert the right links, will set that right when I’m back!


  1. ROFL, love your post and the annoying Uncle quip! Now I'm wondering if I could make a pizza rose...

  2. Ha! I overfilled too! It was a major fight to twist the halved roll and stop the contents from spilling out. But I too MADE them stay in....

    (I suppose, in retrospect, I could have used a larger spring-form pan too. Next time, when I overfill again.)

  3. Ah those boys know what tastes good! I bet they didn't mind that it was overfilled (can there be such a thing as 'too much filling' I wonder). When I saw that video again I remembered that this was one of the first breads I baked in a bread workshop when I just started baking. It's easier to slice when baked in a tin, but not as romantic looking.

  4. Overfilling: Yeah, not sure that's even possible. And the ham popping to the crust, heck that sounds spot on as the boys prove.
    This would be the universal uncle and boys right? I miss my boys having friends over and food disappearing in a flash to thank yous.
    I almost doubled the water the 2nd time I made this. What confuses me is how it worked at all the first time. My second loaf was lighter and did rise more but I also used the vinegar the 2nd time. Guess I really don't have much interest in trying it again with less water and adding the vinegar to see what that would do.

  5. Hmm. I must say: it doesn't look overfilled, in the photo with dough. But we suffer from the same propensity.

    Also, why were the cameras all in action, hmm? Food photography is IMPORTANT! ;)

  6. Hi David! Camera's were in action in respectively Greece, England and south of Holland. (Sons all over the place with cameras, food photography took last place). Yeah I know :-D

  7. Yay for sons, far away with cameras and close by with friends filling up on a super bread! I, too, miss having the band of boys coming over and filling up, but have enjoyed hearing about your experience. Guy friendships are awesome things.
    I added water, too, to get a more manageable dough. Great bread, Karen! Not sure it was overfilled given the way it disappeared.


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