Braided bread : garlic and basil

This is a basic bread recipe which can be used for multiple purposes. We’ve used it to make loaves, shape buns, or try our first braid. The crust is firm with a pilow soft crumb or marshmallow-soft as the kids called it!

Garlic and basil braid


  • (Serves 3-4)
  • All purpose flour or whole wheat or a mix of all purpose or whole wheat flours – 250-275 grams
  • Instant yeast – 1.5 teaspoon or 7 grams
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon.
  • Olive oil – for brushing
  • Garlic – 5-6 cloves
  • Fresh basil – 20 grams finely chopped.
  • Water – as needed
  • Cane sugar – 5 grams


1. Set out, weigh and keep ready all your ingredients. In a sauce pan warm up about 250 grams water to 110F. Mix your yeast, the sugar and about 10-20 ml. water. Mix it well to make a paste in the bowl of your mixer. This step is called blooming of the yeast. In a couple minutes the mixture will thicken and start frothing.

yeast bloom

2. While the yeast is blooming, mix together the flour – 250 grams and the salt. This is done to make sure that the salt doesn’t come in direct contact with the yeast. Add this flour and salt mix to the yeast and knead it in your stand mixer. Add warm water to the dough as needed. The dough we are making should be soft to touch. If the dough is sticky oil your hands to handle it. Once kneaded, take the dough out of your mixer, smear your hands with oil and roll the dough into a tight ball. Grease a bowl and let the dough rise in the greased bowl till it is doubled. Make sure you leave the bowl in a warm place and cover it with a moist cloth while the dough is rising. The dough will take between 30-60 minutes to double. This is called the first rise.

Dough – First rise

3. Once the dough has doubled, punch it and release all the air.

4. Set the oven to preheat at 200C. Preheating while baking ensures that your equipment has had time to reach the correct temperature as is required by your recipe.

5. Shape the dough into a loaf or a braid or buns as per your need. You will need to use the additional 25 grams flour while working with the dough to dust your surfaces and stop the dough from sticking everywhere. Once shaped, cover the dough again with a wet cloth and let it rise atop the oven as it heats for about 30 minutes. This is called the second rise. Once the 30 minutes are up brush your loaf or braid with olive oil, basil and garlic

Rookie braid!

6. Bake your bread in the oven at 200C for about 30-40 minutes. The bread should look brown and have a crisp crust. You can also check the internal temperature of the bread which should be between 200-210 F.

7. Eat your bread hot , right out of the oven with your soup or pasta !