Happy New Year! Braided Italian Sesame Bread

Happy New Year everyone! I don’t usually make a New Years Resolution. My personality (and being a stereotypical Aries) leads me to constantly evaluate where I’ve been, where I’m going, and how I’m getting there, so a New Year’s Resolution has always seemed a little redundant.

But there is something I’ve wanted to learn how to do for a while that for some reason I haven’t done… and that’s bread making. So my New Year’s Resolution for 2012 is to learn how to make different types of bread and to make them well. My parents baked homemade bread when I was growing up and there’s just nothing like bread fresh from the oven.

Here is my first attempt at homemade bread, besides helping my parents as a kid. It came out well and was surprisingly quite easy. Here’s to more homemade bread in 2012!

Is anyone else making a New Years resolution this year? What do you hope to accomplish in 2012?

I wanted a recipe I could trust to work, so I went to King Arthur’s site figuring they would be reliable. I stuck pretty closely to their recipe for Italian Sesame Bread, but added a little more oil and water to make it doughy. It was a little too dry without these additions. I also used soy milk instead of bread shine.

3 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast ( I used a whole packet which is slightly more than 2 tsp)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup plus 2 to 5 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds or whole flax seeds
soy milk


  • Mix the flour, yeast, and salt together. Then add the olive oil and water one tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together enough to knead.
  • Knead the dough by hand, bread machine or food processor, until the dough is smooth and elastic. I kneaded it by hand for about 5-7 minutes. If you need info on how to knead dough, here’s a helpful video that I’ve included in previous posts.
  • After kneading, place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn the dough to coat it. Cover it and allow it to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Gently deflate the dough by pressing down on it. Divide it into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 20-inch log, tapering the ends slightly. Place the logs on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Braid them loosely, pinch the ends together, and tuck them under. Cover the braid and allow it to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until it’s almost doubled in size.
  • Toast the sesame seeds in a pan over low heat. They can quickly go from toasted to burned, so keep them moving in the pan. It doesn’t take very long to toast them.
  • Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  • Once the dough is done rising, brush a little soy milk over the braid. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.
  • Bake the braid for 20 to 25 minutes, until it’s golden brown. (Tent it lightly with aluminum foil after 15 minutes, if it appears to be browning too quickly.)
  • Remove the braid from the oven, and cool it on a wire rack.

3 thoughts on “Happy New Year! Braided Italian Sesame Bread

  1. Looks delicious! Reminds me of the big braided loaves we’d get from the Italian deli in downtown Cleveland. The smell of those loaves baking…heaven. Here’s to more successful bread baking in the year to come! Happy New Year!

  2. Pingback: Happy New Year! – Vegan Cheesy Bread « The Vegan Kat

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