Graham Cracker Bread
Thanks to these gray, rainy days I have been on a major baking kick. Granola bars, cookies, brownies, breads. If the sun doesn’t come back soon, I am going to have to switch to elastic waistbands on all my pants.
This week I was watching my kids roll out Play-Doh creations at the dining room table. It reminded me of one of my all-time favorite bread recipes, Graham Cracker Bread.
The recipe involves splitting the dough into 3 equal portions, rolling each into a 12″ rope, and braiding them together before tucking them into the pan to bake. The bread dough is really easy to handle and shape. Just dust off your Play-Doh skills, and you’ll be good to go.
Of course, you could totally skip the whole braiding step and just form it into a regular loaf, but where’s the fun in that? It takes a few extra minutes but makes it look fun & funky.
This yeasty bread is sweet, thanks to the honey and graham crackers, with a soft crumb and chewy crust. And if that wasn’t enough goodness in one loaf of bread, there’s flecks of cinnamon swirled through each slice!
You can bake the braided loaf on a baking sheet (above left) or in a loaf pan (above right). The baking sheet will give you a beautiful loaf that looks similar to Challah bread. The loaf pan will give you taller slices, perfect for toast or sandwiches. Oh man, this bread makes the best French toast or PB&J sandwiches.
Another nice option is that this bread dough comes together beautifully in a food processor or electric mixer. I’ve included both options in the recipe so don’t be put off by the long-looking steps section. This bread is simple to make & bake, I promise!
Long after the Play-Doh had been packed away for the day, we had thick slices of warm bread and glasses of cold milk. It was the perfect way to chase away the gray on a rainy afternoon (while wearing stretchy pants, of course.)
Graham Cracker Bread
adapted from a Cooking Light recipe
2 1/4 t. (1 package) active, dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
2 T. honey
1/2 t. salt
2 T. butter
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole-wheat flour
1/4 c. (about 5 full cracker sheets) cinnamon graham cracker crumbs or honey graham crackers + 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
2/3 cup warm water
Using a food processor:
1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water; let stand 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, place the honey, salt, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and the graham crackers crumbs in a food processor; pulse 4 times. Add butter; process 10 seconds. With processor on, slowly add yeast mixture and 2/3 cup water through food chute; process until combined. With processor on, add a little extra all-purpose flour through food chute, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough leaves sides of bowl and forms a ball. Process 15 additional seconds.
Using an electric mixer:
1. Place 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the honey and yeast; let stand 5 minutes.
2. Add the salt, butter, and 2/3 cup water and mix until combined. While the mixer is on low, slowly add the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and graham cracker crumbs, mixing until it forms a rough ball and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Add a little extra flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough ball is smooth and not sticking to the sides. With the mixer on medium, continue kneading the dough ball for 2-3 more minutes.
To Rise, Shape & Bake (either method):
3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with butter or cooking spray. Cover and let rise in a warm place, 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
4. Punch dough down; divide into 3 equal portions. Shape each portion into a 12″ rope. Place 3 ropes lengthwise on a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper; pinch ends together at one end to seal. Braid ropes; pinch together other end. Keep on the baking sheet or place in a greased 8 x 4″ loaf pan. Cover and let rise 45 minutes.
5. Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes. Remove from pan immediately; cool on a wire rack.
The Oxo Good Grips Multi-purpose scraper (Amazon) is such a versatile, handy little tool to have tucked in a kitchen drawer. I use mine all the time, usually when dealing with cookie, bread, or biscuit dough. It works great for splitting dough into even portions or even scraping dough off kitchen counters.
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