Eight-Strand Plaited Loaf
- 500g high grade flour
- 7g fast action dried yeast
- 10g fine salt
- 1½ tbsp olive oil
- 340ml water
- extra flour for dusting
- sunflower oil for greasing bowl
- 1 free-range egg, beaten lightly with a pinch of salt
Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the yeast to one side and the salt on the other, add olive oil.
Measure out the 340ml water and add three-quarters to the flour mixture, and mix together by hand, then add the rest of the liquid.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead by hand until the dough looks silky and stretchy. This will take approximately 10 minutes, or use a standing mixer.
Oil a medium-sized mixing bowl and place the dough into the bowl. Cover with cling film and leave until the dough doubles in size.
When risen, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead, to knock the dough back. Shape the dough into a ball.
Divide the dough into eight equal pieces, then roll out each piece into a strand about 40cm/16in long.
Lay the strands out on the lightly floured surface like an octopus, fanned out from a central point at the top. Stick all the ends at the central point to the table with your thumb.
For the following braiding sequence, number the strands of dough from 1-8 from left to right.
Every time you move any strand it will take the new number of its position in the row.
- Step 1: place 8 under 7 and over 1
- Step 2: place 8 over 5
- Step 3: place 2 under 3 and over 8
- Step 4: place 1 over 4
- Step 5: place 7 under 6 and over 1
- Repeats step 2-5, until all the dough is braided.
Tuck both ends of the loaf underneath to give a tidy finish.
Place the plaited dough onto a floured baking tray, and leave to prove for another hour, until risen again.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Brush the loaf with the beaten egg wash and bake in the oven for 20-25 mins.