Braided Bread with Coconut and Dry Fruit Stuffing

After weeks of planning and researching, I am finally the proud owner of a new oven (microwave, grill and convection). Earlier I used to bake using my old pressure cooker. While pressure cooker baking is great for cakes, the browning required for breads could not be achieved. So I had been waiting for this oven to try out breads among other yummies. The first bread had to be something interesting and I zeroed in on this braided bread. I wanted to make it even more interesting by adding a sweet stuffing using coconuts and dry fruits. Read on to find out how it turned out.

braided bread baked

For the bread:

All purpose flour – 2 cups

Wheat flour – ½ cup

Active dry yeast – 1 teaspoon

Sugar – 1 teaspoon (and 1 teaspoon for proofing)

Salt – 1 teaspoon

Milk – ¼ cup

Oil – ¼ cup

Warm water – as required to make smooth dough

 

For the filling:

Coconut – 1 cup (scraped)

Jaggery – ¾ cup

Dry fruits and nuts to add crunch and texture

I used toasted almonds, cashew nuts and a few cherries (the ones which are soaked in syrup and packed)

 

Add coconut and jaggery to a vessel and heat in medium flame till the jaggery melts and mixes with the coconut and gets a sticky texture. Switch off the flame, transfer the contents to a bowl and add dried fruits and toasted nuts of your choice. Your filling is ready.

For the bread, mix one teaspoon sugar to luke warm water and mix well. Add the yeast to this mixture, mix well and keep aside till it turns frothy (15 minutes approx). Mix the flour, sugar, salt. Add the activated yeast, milk, oil and mix well. Add warm water if required and knead for 10 – 15 minutes. Cover with cling wrap and keep aside for 1 to 1.5 hours (till it doubles). Once the dough is doubled, place it on a work surface. Punch it to release air and knead for 5 minutes.

To make the braided shape, take the dough, make a ball and roll it into a rectangle. Arrange the stuffing in the centre and make cuts as shown in the picture.

Fold the top and proceed by folding the cuts on either side onto the stuffing alternately to make a braid. Fold the bottom and seal it. Brush liberally with oil. Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees celsius, and Bake the bread at 170 degree celsius for 12-15 minutes.

braided bread-cut angle

Know Your Ingredient

Coconut is the mature fruit of the cocos nucifera palm. One of the most indispensable ingredients in South Asian recipes, it is a complete food, rich in calories, vitamins and minerals. A medium sized nut contains up to 400 g of edible ‘meat’.

Coconut is an immediate source of energy with fewer calories than other fats.  It is rich in lauric acid which helps in increasing HDL (good cholesterol) levels in the blood. It also has micro nutrients like magnesium and selenium, which help maintain strong bones. It is also rich in fibre which helps control blood sugar and cholesterol. It is an excellent source of copper, iron, manganese, calcium, zinc, and potassium and also B-complex vitamins.

Type Fruit
Form Fresh
How to Buy Shake and see if it has good quantity of water.

Look for darker brown ones; this indicates that they are mature.

Check the eyes of the coconut; if they are moist or look mouldy, the coconut is spoilt, don’t buy.

 

Storage Store unopened ones in a cool, dry place. Once opened, it stays good in a refrigerator for up to a week.

 

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