“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight...
[Breadmaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world's sweetest smells... there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of
meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.” ― M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating
All Purpose Flour - 2 cups
Yeast - 1/2 tbs
Salt - 1 tsp
Oil - 4 tbs
Egg - 1
Caster Sugar - 1 tsp
Warm Water - 1/2 cup
For the Filling
Shredded Chicken - 250gms
Onion - 1, finely chopped
Salt to taste
Cilantro - 2 tbs, finely chopped
Black Pepper Powder - 1 tsp
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
All Spice Powder - 1 tsp
All Purpose Flour - 2tbs
Butter - 2 tbs
White Sesame Seeds
An egg lightly beaten for the egg wash with 2tsp of water and pinch of salt.
Mix the yeast into some warm water with the sugar and keep aside for about 10 minutes. Then into a food processor add the flour. In a slow and steady stream pour in the oil, egg, yeast mixture till it comes together to form a soft dough. If more liquid is required use more warm water to form a soft dough. Once the dough is formed take it out and put it into a well oiled bowl, cling wrap and allow the dough to rise for an hour.
In the meantime, the filling can be made. Into a frying pan, add the butter and saute the chopped onion till pink. Add in the ginger garlic paste and saute for about 2 minutes. Then add in the shredded chicken and cook. Tip in the all spice powder, and the black pepper powder and saute. Once the chicken is cooked, add the flour and cook for another minute and keep aside.
Check on the dough and once risen, punch it down divide the dough into 2 balls or more depending on how big you want the loaves. Roll the dough into a rectangle Spread half the chicken filling down the center section, leaving 1" free on all sides of the filling.
To form the braid, cut 1" crosswise strips down the length of the outside sections, making sure you have the same number of strips down each side. Beginning on the left, lift the top dough strip and gently bring it across the filling diagonally. Repeat on the other side with the top dough strip, so that the two strips crisscross each other. Continue down the entire braid, alternating strips to form the loaf. Repeat the rolling, filling, and braiding steps for the second piece of dough, using the remaining chicken filling. Set both loaves aside, lightly covered, to rise for 45 to 50 minutes, or until quite puffy
Preheat the oven to 180C. Brush the loaves with egg wash (one lightly beaten egg, 2 teaspoons water and a pinch of salt), and sprinkle with coarse sparkling sugar, if desired. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.