A braided bread loaf that has been but to show the inside. There is a knife with butter on it.

Easy Braided Bread Loaf

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This lovely braided bread loaf is the perfect recipe for any home bread baker! A simple but beautiful loaf to expand your bread baking knowledge!

This delicious braided bread recipe is soft and pillowy on the inside with a light chewy crust. The perfect sliceable bread loaf for any occasion!

A braided bread loaf that has been but to show the inside. There is a knife with butter on it.

How to easily braid bread (4 strands)

If you have ever braided hair or done any weaving, then you already know how to make this bread loaf!

Braiding or weaving bread is simply taking the first length of dough and placing it over the next strand and under the following strand, then over the last strand. You will then continue with the bread length that is now in the first position.

Continue with this over under over under technique until you reach the end of the loaf.

Make sure to pinch the dough together at both ends. This will ensure the bread doesn’t unravel as it is expanding during the final rise, or as is puffs up and bakes in the oven.

A braided bread loaf wrapped in linen. There is a bread knife and a butter knife on the side.

Making Braided Bread in the bread machine

Yes, you can use a bread machine to make this braided bread!

To make this easy braided bread loaf in the bread machine

  • Add the milk, sugar, yeast, butter, salt, flour, and one of the eggs into the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer or your bread machine.
  • Turn it on to the dough cycle.
  • Remove the dough from the machine and shape it into 4 equal pieces.
  • Shape each of these into long strands about 24 in. (60 cm) long. Do this by rolling it between the floured counter and your hands. Rolling out and back while moving your hands horizontally outwards.
  • Place the 4 strands beside each other and press one side of the ends together.
  • Weave the strands starting at one end. Over the first strand, under the next strands until you reach the opposite side. Continue weaving the strands until all of the bread is braided into a tight loaf.
  • Pinch the opposite end of the strands together.
  • Cover and allow the bread to rise on a lined baking sheet until doubled. (About 30 minutes)
  • Continue on with the egg wash and baking instructions for the braided loaf below.
A braided bread loaf that has been cut to show the inside.

How to make an Easy Braided Bread Loaf

This easy braided loaf is the perfect beginner recipe to expand your bread knowledge. It is not filled and doesn’t require any special techniques!

We are going to make a simple enriched bread dough, which will a soft, make a tender, pillowy soft bread.

The only difference is instead of baking it all together in a loaf pan, we are going to split it into 4 pieces and weave the dough into a loaf.

Easy Braided Bread Overnight

The smell of fresh baked bread first thing in the morning, is there anything better? Did you know you can do all the work of making bread the night before and bake it first thing in the morning? If you want to have fresh baked bread for breakfast, this is what you need to do:

  • The night before, make the bread recipe, this includes weaving and shaping it into a loaf. Everything up until the final rise.
  • After you have shaped the loaf, cover and place in the refrigerator. The low temperature will prolong the rise.
  • In the morning, remove the loaf from the fridge and bake.
A braided bread loaf that has been cut to show the inside of the loaf.

Storage

At room temperature

While any bread loaf is best served fresh the day that it is baked, you can store it and prolong the freshness for up to 3 days!

  • Fresh bread is best stored, wrapped in paper, on the counter for up to 3 days.
  • Bread will start to dry out and becomes stale the longer it is left out.
  • Fresh bread is at it’s best eaten the first day.
  • After that, fresh bread is best warmed or toasted with butter or toppings of choice.

In the refrigerator

The fridge is not the best place to store fresh bread. Bread loaves will dry out quickly and become stale faster when stored this way. If you want to prolong the life of your bread loaves store them in the freezer!

Ingredients out on a wooden table. The ingredients are labeled and have arrows pointing to them.

In the freezer

Fresh bread stores extremely well in the freezer, when stored properly. Follow these easy steps to store your braided bread loaf for longer storage.

  • Let the fresh bread come to room temperature.
  • Wrap tightly in cling-film or a bread bag. (You can wrap the bread whole or pre-sliced.)
  • Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • When you are ready to use, unwrap and let it come back to room temperature.
  • To warm a full loaf, wrap loosely in tin foil. Place the loaf in a preheated 325 °F (160 °C) oven for 25-25 minutes.
  • For pre-sliced bread, you can place the frozen slices directly into the toaster!

How to make an Easy Braided Bread Loaf

Ingredients

1 ¼ cups milk 300 ml

1 teaspoon sugar 5 ml

2 ¼ teaspoons dry active yeast (1 package) 7 g

⅓ cup butter, softened 76 g

1 teaspoon salt 5 ml

2 eggs

4 cups all-purpose flour 500-600 g

1 egg (for egg wash)

Method

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl by hand, add the milk, sugar, and yeast.
  2. Set aside and allow the yeast to soften and become foamy.
  3. Add to the bowl, the butter, salt, 2 lightly beaten egg, and the flour.
  4. Mix and knead until you have a smooth dough. (About 5 minutes in a mixer or 8 minutes by hand.)
  5. Cover and allow to rise 1 hour.
  6. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 equal pieces.
  7. Roll the strands into thin equal length strips about 24 in. (60 cm) long.
  8. Place the strands parallel beside each other and pinch them at one end.
  9. Braid the strands by using a weaving, over-under-over-under technique until you reach the end.
  10. Pinch the opposite end together and place on a lined baking sheet.
  11. Cover and allow to rise, in a warm spot, until doubled. About 30 minutes.
  12. Lightly beat the last egg in a small bowl.
  13. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 ºF (190 ºC)
  14. Brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash.
  15. Bake the loaf for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
  16. Cool slightly, slice, and serve.
A braided bread loaf that has been but to show the inside. There is a knife with butter on it.

Easy Braided Bread Loaf

flour and filigree
Soft and pillow bread with a delicious chewy crust. This beautiful braided bread is the perfect beginner recipe to expand your bread baking knowledge, or if you just want a simple delicious bread loaf that looks bakery worthy!
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Course bread
Cuisine American
Servings 1 large loaf
Calories 315 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ¼ cups milk 300 ml
  • 1 teaspoon sugar 5 ml
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons dry active yeast 1 package
  • cup butter, softened 76 g
  • 1 teaspoon salt 5 ml
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour 500g-600 g
  • 1 egg for egg wash

Instructions
 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl by hand, add the milk, sugar, and yeast.
  • Set aside and allow the yeast to soften and become foamy.
  • Add to the bowl, the butter, salt, 2 lightly beaten eggs, and the flour.
  • Mix and knead until you have a smooth dough. (About 5 minutes in a mixer or 8 minutes by hand.)
  • Cover and allow to rise 1 hour.
  • Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 equal pieces.
  • Roll the strands into thin equal length strips about 24 in. (60 cm) long.
  • Place the strands parallel beside each other and pinch them at one end.
  • Braid the strands by using a weaving, over-under-over-under technique until you reach the end.
  • Pinch the opposite end together and place on a lined baking sheet.
  • Cover and allow to rise, in a warm spot, until doubled. About 30 minutes.
  • Lightly beat the last egg in a small bowl.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 ºF (190 ºC)
  • Brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash.
  • Bake the loaf for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Cool slightly, slice, and serve.
Keyword bread, kid-friendly

Looking to expand your bread baking repertoire? Try one of these! Finnish-Canadian Pulla Bread, Scottish Kitchen Butter Rolls, Butteries, Flaky French Bakery Butter Croissants

A pinterest pin for braided bread. In the photo there is a loaf of braided bread that has been cut to show the soft inside of the loaf.

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