Three strand Multiseed Plait using Sourdough Discard.

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Plaited bread occurs in many cuisines. The Swiss claim to have invented it as Zopf is a type of Swiss, Austrian and Bavarian bread that is enriched with milk, eggs and butter into a form of brioche. It is then plaited, baked and traditionally eaten on a Sunday morning. The French call it 'tresse' and the Italians call it 'treccia'. 

In Hebrew cuisine, it exists as Challah, a special bread of the Ashkenazi Jews, eaten on Shabbat or at otjer significant Jewish gatherings. 

You'll find other braided breads throughout Eastern Europe...some in rings, others straight, some enriched, but all plaited in their own distinctive way. 

My three strand plait uses sourdough discard. There really should be a better word for the excess sourdough starter other than 'discard'. It's far too useful to be given a name that doesn't properly do justice to its worth. I always keep a large tub of 'discard' alongside my starter motherlode because it's so good to bake with and produces so many interesting types of light and tasty breads.


I'm actually going to make 2 loaves from this mix. If you want a really large one - then don't divide it as I did. 

100 gms unfed sourdough starter (it doesn't matter whether this was fed the day before or a week ago, there will be active bacteria jut waiting to go to work)

500 gms strong white bread flour

400 gms tepid filtered water

50 gms unsalted butter

1 tablespoon Demerara sugar

10 gms sea salt

1 teaspoon instant yeast

and then the seeds:

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon brown linseed

1 tablespoon black sesame

1 tablespoon white sesame

1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

and then the glaze

poppy seeds

egg wash

Using a bread machine

Add the flour and the salt to the pan and cover with the liquid. Leave to autolyse for fifteen minutes. Add the remainder of the ingredients and choose a Basic Dough programme (2hrs 20 minutes).  Then proceed to the next stage. 

Mixing by hand or using a stand mixer

If you're mixing by hand or using a stand mixer, add the softened butter and the salt to the flour and mix thoroughly. Then add the remainder of the dry ingredients (except the yeast). Slowly add the liquid and then the yeast until you have a sticky mix. Turn the mix out onto a floured board and knead until you have a silky and pliable dough. (There are 'Help' videos and articles in the 'Useful Web and YouTube links' on the lefthand side of this page). Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover. Leave for an hour somewhere warm until the dough has doubled in size. 

Weigh the dough and divide into three equal portions. 

Form each portion into a ball and then, taking each ball in turn, roll it out into a rough rectangle. Fold it into thirds along the long edge and ensure you press the join down firmly. Bring the long edge to the middle and then roll into a sausage shape. Then, applying equal pressure along the length, gradually roll it into a long length. Try and end up with a long sausage that is approximately one inch in diameter. 

Repeat with the other two balls. 

Place the three lengths down the worktop and secure the top ends together. Then begin to plait....right into the middle....left into the middle.....right into the middle and so on. 

If you're unsure how to plait bread, watch this video:

Tuck the ends in to make it tidy and carefully lift it onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or silicone. 

Leave somewhere warm for 30 / 40 minutes until it has doubled in volume. 

Preheat the oven to 190⁰C

Mix a glaze by beating an egg in a small cup. Beat it very thoroughly to disperse all the albumen. 

Glaze the bread and scatter poppy seeds from a height to ensure even coverage. 

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. 

Cool on a rack. 

Happy baking....


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