The dough recipe I used for this plaited loaf is my jumbo loaf recipe, purely so it would fit my XL large pan and the length of loaf I wanted to make. Any of my bread loaf recipes are suitable to plait, just select one to match the size of your pan or tray length.
For this loaf, I substituted the water with fresh whey left over from a batch of ricotta cheese I made earlier today. It resulted in a slightly denser crumb and a really crisp crust. To finish off, the dough was brushed lightly with a beaten egg and sprinkled with poppy seeds.
Once your dough is prepared and ready to shape, work is into a rectangle slightly longer than your pan. For this example, my rectangle was 30cm by 20cm in size.
Using a pizza cutter or dough scraper, cut the rectangle into equal three strips, running the length of the rectangle. Leave about 3cm uncut at the top.
Start to plait just like you would hair – right strand over the middle, then left over the middle, and onwards. Keep the plait loose and not too tight.
Once the plait is complete, tuck each end of the plait underneath the loaf. Transfer to the pan or tray, cover with oiled cling wrap or a damp towel and allow to prove until double in size.
Once the dough has doubled in size, brush lightly with a beaten egg and sprinkle with your choice of seeds. Be mindful not to use too much egg as this may result in losing some of the plait definition once baked. Spritz lightly with water and pop in a preheated oven. Refer to the bread recipe you have chosen to use for temperature and timing.
Turn out onto a rack and allow to cool completely before cutting. Enjoy!