In order to keep my interest in baking at least two basic loaves of bread every other day I've taken to trying out new shaping techniques. (and yes we really do go through a loaf a day, could you imagine how much that would add up if I were buying it from the grocery store? Never mind the fact that grocery loaves are much smaller)
My latest favourite, looks wise, is a braided loaf and it's really easy to do!
You can use pretty much any basic bread dough recipe, I used this one: Stone Ground Oatmeal Bread (just the dough recipe)
Here's how it's done!
Step one: Once your dough is ready to be shaped, knead it out for a couple of minutes then roll it into a medium sized rectangle. Make sure you get all the big air bubbles out to ensure your bread has a really even crumb.
Cut two slits along the rectangle, starting about 1 inch from the top and cutting all the way through to the bottom.
Starting at the top, take a piece from one side and fold it over the middle piece. Then take a piece from the opposite side and fold it over top the new middle piece. Continue all the way to the bottom. Make sure you braid fairly tight or your end result won't look much like a braid at all.
When you get to the bottom, pinch the three pieces together.
Tuck both ends in a bit and then gently roll the loaf back and forth until it forms a nice loaf size
Place your loaf in a greased bread pan and let it rise until double
Follow the bread recipes baking instructions and there you have it! A delicious braided loaf of bread!