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Braided Almond-Herb Bread

I got this recipe from a neighbor, who's a great baker and cook. She had just taken a loaf of this bread out of the oven one day when I stopped by, and it was so fragrant and attractive that I just had to have the recipe!
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. + rising Bake: 30 min.
  • Makes
    1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm whole milk (110° to 115°)
  • 3-1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds, toasted, divided
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions

  • Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water; set aside. In large bowl, combine butter, salt and milk. Stir in yeast mixture, 2 cups flour, herbs and 2 tablespoons almonds. Beat until well-mixed. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place dough in greased bowl, turning once to grease dough surface. Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Punch dough down and cut off one-third of dough; set aside. Divide remaining dough into three equal parts, shaping each into a 14-in. rope.
  • Braid ropes and place on greased baking sheet. Divide set-aside dough into three ropes and braid. Place smaller braid on top of larger braid. Cover; let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Combine egg and water. Brush over entire loaf; sprinkle with remaining almonds. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes.
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