Sometimes Uncle F%#k-Up does something right. For Easter I was tasked with making a pretty bread. Since I am King Pretty I thought this would be a snap. Then my wife gave me a Martha Stewart recipe that showed a golden challah braid inlaid with red dyed Easter eggs—this was my goal. I’ll point out that while Martha is a whiz at crafts and serving prison time she’s woefully behind the times on baking bread, since she called for proofing the yeast in warm milk, something that hasn’t been necessary for the past half century. So I took the spirit of that bread and modified my white sandwich bread recipe, which is the same as the wheat sandwich bread but with all white flour. For this braid I added three eggs to the double loaf amount, along with grated peel from four oranges, two tablespoons of vanilla, and a little extra honey and sugar. I swapped out the weight of eggs for an equal amount of milk, thinking my recipe would be basically balanced. FAIL! I added handfuls of flour in increasing frustration until I was hurling the sticky dough at the board, piling flour on it, and cursing and sweating. Something in this bread is really sticky and it takes lots of extra flour, so if you attempt it be sure to have lots at hand and be ready to feel like a fly in a doughy web. What did I do with all that dough? I made a four-foot long braid.
Because I’m Uncle F$#k-Up I knew I’d have to either sever it in several pieces to bake it or coil it up. I went for the coil and hoped it wasn’t too wide to fit in the oven. Would it have been smart to measure first? Yes. Did I measure? No. I maneuvered it on a pizza peel and just f$#*ing jammed it. It just barely fit, though the edges got extra crispy.
I prettified it with a single robin’s egg blue Easter egg and brushed it with egg white and milk to get it brown and glossy, a trick I may use on myself at the beach this summer and then wonder why I’m getting such attention from seagulls and sand crabs. The only way I could transport and serve it was on a decorative metal tabletop that was made in Rajasthan and has a stern label saying, “Decorative use only – MAY POISON FOOD”. So far nobody has gotten stomach cramps or gone blind, but I do have a non-stop finger twitch and can only see the colors yellow and grey. Now I need some help eating a bread the size of a wagon wheel.