The simple smells of bread baking…..intoxicating to the senses, isn’t it?! We’re talking knee-weakening, swoon-worthy, mouthwatering, hunger-torturing good! And this bread is a pure life-saver when you have 10,000 gazillion other things going on and need that last little “extra” without any more fuss! Let’s face it, even the “fancy breads” at the store aren’t worth the wrapper they come in anymore, and are usually stale before you even get to the greedy register. So when I have too much going on and just cannot spend any more time on bread from scratch, or about everything I own has already been dirtied and is in the dishwasher, this is a REALLY fun and easy way to make “semi-homemade” bread that tastes fabulous and is painless! And no yeast will be murdered in the process! You can do this! Try out for the part! You’ll get it, I promise!
The thawed bread cut, braided and ….. a star is born! Just look at that pretty precious baby!
Waiting patiently to be dressed! Brrrr! It’s cold in here!! WARDROBE!
Aaaah! That’s much better! Warmly wrapped in warm flannel colors for fall!
But I was still a little chilly…luckily I was placed into a nice warm oven with the perfect amount of heat provided by the stage lights! And she even gave me an extra blanket of plastic wrap to keep my skin nice and moist and protected from drying out! I’m too young to wrinkle!!!!
And now here’s this former skinny log of plain frozen dough with a major makeover getting ready for her tan! (Doesn’t she have great curves?!)
All happy, excited, giving myself multiple hugs and smiling for the camera! I’m such a ham!!!!
22 minutes later….Oh my don’t I look GORGEOUS, dahrlink? Please…no autographs now…I need more butter… yes, yes!, yes!! Hurry now! While I’m still warm!
Aaaand my “glamour shot”. (Cindy Crawford’s moles don’t hold a butter knife to my beautiful imperfections!)
First slice – – PREMO piece! – – off of the end and lightly brushed with real melted Amish butter for you! Now where’s the party? Do I look ok? 🙂
I hope you’ve enjoyed the show and keep this in mind for an extra item that says I took the time to do a little extra and baked the bread myself! The slices are unique and long, making them the perfect size for toasting and broiling, dipping and dunking, party sandwiches and bruschettas! If you don’t have a decent bakery around the corner and don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for a simple loaf bread if you do, then you’ll really appreciate this easy and quite shockingly delicious bread when you have a gazillion other things to make. And even if you just want it to accompany supper, it tastes like you slaved all day and makes even a simple meal suddenly seem extra special.
CAREFREE BRAIDED ITALIAN BREAD
Makes one 15-16″ loaf
1 loaf frozen bread dough, (I like Rhodes)
butter-flavored cooking spray
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1/16 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1/16 tsp. paprika
2 Tbl. melted butter, optional
*The night before, remove a frozen loaf, spray well with butter-flavored cooking spray and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place in fridge to thaw overnight.
The next day, unwrap thawed loaf and place onto cutting board. Cut lengthwise into three even strips. Pinch seams together where you cut and roll into ropes 14″ long. Braid, pinching ends together, and place onto sprayed baking sheet tucking each end under. Spray top and sides well.
Sprinkle top evenly with dried herbs and seasonings. Spray a little with more cooking spray to set seasonings. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and place into a draft-free, warm spot. I place mine into the oven with the light on. Works like a charm! Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 2-3 hours.
Remove from oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Remove plastic wrap.
Bake until deep golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped, about 20-25 minutes. (My oven takes 22 minutes.)
Remove from oven. Baste top with the 2 Tbl. melted butter if desired. Remove loaf to wire rack to cool. When cool, wrap with plastic wrap and store room temp.
Be sure to use a sharp, serrated bread knife and slice using a sawing motion not pressing or you’ll smoosh the bread.