Cherry-and-pecan-plait

Cherry and pecan plait

  • Makes 1 loaf
  • Takes 30 minutes to make, 25 minutes to bake, plus proving
  • Medium
This plaited loaf has three strands instead of eight, so it's simple to make but still looks impressive. The bread is sweetened with maple syrup, which helps create a deep golden crust.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup plus extra for brushing
  • 75g dried cherries
  • 100g chopped pecans

METHOD

  1. Sift the flour, cinnamon and sugar into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast. Make a well in the centre and gradually mix in 300ml warm water and the maple syrup until the dough comes together – add a dash more water if it seems dry.
  2. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 5 minutes, until smooth. Shape like a rugby ball and put onto an oiled, large baking sheet. Set aside in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled in size. This is known as proving or rising.
  3. Preheat oven to 220°C/fan200°C/gas 7. Knock out the air, knead in dried cherries and pecans. Divide into 3, roll each into a long sausage, plait, then tuck the ends under. Put on an oiled baking sheet, cover and prove for 45 minutes. Brush with maple syrup and bake for 25 minutes. Cool, drizzle with icing and serve.

From April 2007

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