Eggless Braided Date Bread

Its been raining all day today,yet it wasn’t the damp depressing rain,there was a gentleness in the rain drops that fell & the fall colors on the leaves gave the weekend a warm cozy feeling, added to it was the chirpy voices of my little one & his friends.Weekends are meant to be relaxing and baking this bread was therapeutic in a way,somehow the baking bug seemed to have caught me today.
“Zopf ” translates to braid and that is what this bread is all about, I decided to make it more fun by adding dates with cinnamon powder just to enhance the flavor & simply to try out a new form of braiding bread, which I have never done before.Baked into every loaf is the love & warmth of a family tradition , I wanted my child to remember growing up.Every Fall, I remember smelling the delicious aroma of cinnamon, honey,apples & spices in the air around the neighborhood , never really knowing anything about baking, this year I decided to give it a try, so here it is the braided date bread for you to try baking at home.Enjoy.

All purpose flour- 3 1/2 cups
Dry yeast- 2 tsp
Brown sugar- 1/4 cup
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Warm Milk- 3/4 cup
Warm water-1/4 cup
Softened butter- 1/4 cup
Cardamom powder- a pinch ( optional)

For the filling:

Dates-15-20 ( soak in a tbsp of warm milk)- made into a fine paste
Cinnamon powder- 1/4 tsp
Butter- 2 tbsp

Eggless Braided Date Bread
Eggless Braided Date Bread

1. Mix all the dry ingredients together first & then gently add the warm milk & water mix.
2.Add in the butter to this mix & knead well.Keep the dough in a bowl, covered with wet cloth in a warm corner of the kitchen.
3.Next go on to blend the soaked dates along with the cinnamon powder & butter into a fine paste.Keep aside.
4.Now after about half an hour , you’d notice the dough rise,then roll it out in small rectangles.
5.Then spread the date paste on to the rolled dough , making sure you leave an inch of the dough around the borders.
6.Now roll the dough from the long side into a tube form & pinch the side seam closed.
7.Now cut the dough tube in half,through the middle down the length of the dough tube.
8.Place the half sides with the open end facing the top & quickly braid them together.
9.Transfer them gently into a parchment lined baking sheet into a preheated oven ( 350 degrees for 10 minutes)
10. Bake the bread for 15- 20 minutes until you see the fluffy brown bread rise .
11.Transfer the baking tray to the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top.
12.Serve it warm to your loved ones.Makes a good evening snack for the kids.

Note: The fluffy bread combined with the sweet & spicy taste of dates & cinnamon is a sure treat on a rainy Fall day

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