This simple plaited bread recipe is so easy to make, and creates a pretty braided white loaf for the lunch table.
🍴Why you will love this recipe
Breadmaking is such a simple pleasure - the satisfaction of slowly turning some humble ingredients into a beautiful crusty loaf. And this pretty plaited bread is much easier than it looks but an impressive loaf.
The dough is divided into three equal parts then braided into a simple plait. As it proves and bakes it stretches into a beautiful pattern which slices well or can be served as a tear-and-share bread or even slathered in garlic butter!
Make sure you use a good quality strong white bread flour for a perfect loaf, and that your yeast is instant yeast and still in date.
📝 What you need
Strong White Flour It is important to use proper bread flour with high gluten content to get a soft, fluffy loaf. If you prefer you could use half-and-half white and wholemeal bread flour.
Instant Yeast can be added straight into the flour which makes bread-making easy, (rather than other types of yeast that need activating before adding to the dough).
Olive oil enhances the texture and moisture of the finished loaf and makes the dough easier to handle.
👩🏽🍳 How to make your Plaited Bread
For a full, printable recipe with ingredients and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this page 👇🏼.
Mix the flour, yeast, salt, water and olive oil in a large bowl. Bring together into a soft dough, then knead for 8-10 minutes (or 5 minutes in a food mixer with a dough hook). Leave to prove for 1 - 1.5 hours.
Divide the dough into three equal sections, and roll each into a long, even sausage shape.
Pinch the strands together at the top, then plait them - cross the right strand over the centre, then the left strand over the centre and so on until finished.
Pinch the ends of the strands together at the bottom and tuck underneath. Transfer the loaf to an oiled baking tray and leave to prove for 45 minutes. Bake for 45 minutes.
🔪 Top Tips & FAQs
When kneading your dough, try using oil on your surface rather than flour. I find this actually makes kneading easier, and it helps to keep the texture of the dough consistent.
For a great flavour you can prove the dough in the fridge overnight. Proving at a lower temperature for longer helps the fermentation of the yeast which adds a lovely deep bread-y flavour. If the dough is still cold when you divide and plait it, the second prove may take an extra 30-45 minutes.
Strong white flour has a high gluten content which produces a good rise and therefore a light bread crumb with a crispy crust. Using plain flour instead woill produce a dense loaf.
The fresh plaited bread will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container or tin, though it is at its best when just cooled from the oven.
Yes, fresh bread freezes well - just leave it to cool and put it in an airtight bag or container in the freezer. Or you can slice it first so that you can defrost a slice at a time.
🍽 If you liked that...
.... you might also enjoy these vegan recipes from The Veg Space:
Easy Plaited Bread
- 500 g strong white flour (sometimes called bread flour)
- 7 g instant yeast
- 1.5 teaspoon salt
- 310 ml luke-warm water
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- In a large bowl mix the flour, yeast, salt, water and oil. Bring together into a soft dough.
- Knead the dough for 5 minutes on an oiled surface (or for 3-4 minutes in a food mixer with a dough hook). Cover and leave to prove for 1 - 1.5 hours (or overnight in the fridge).
- Divide the dough into three equal pieces, (you can weigh them if you want to be really accurate - mine were 280g each). Roll each piece into a long, even sausage shape as pictured above.
- Pinch the three strands together at one end, then plait the strands by crossing the right strand over the centre, then the left strand over the centre, and continuing until all the dough has been plaited.
- Pinch together the bottom of the strands and tuck underneath. Transfer the loaf to an oiled baking tray and set aside to prove for 45 minutes, (or if your dough is still cold from the fridge it might take 1.5-2 hours).
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan) / 400°F / Gas Mark 6.
- Bake the loaf for 15 minutes then (without opening the oven) turn the temperature down to 170°C (fan) / 325°F / gas mark 3. and cook for a further 30 minutes. The loaf should be deeply golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the underside.
- For a glossy shine, brush your warm loaf with a little olive oil. Leave to cool before eating.
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