During the past few months, my most requested dinner party contribution has been bread. Beer bread is a favorite creation when I’m under time pressure. But, when I’ve got all day to let yeast work magic, I make fiesta bread.
When I first made this bread, I followed the Confetti Fiesta Braided Bread Recipe from Taste of Home.
“But, this site is called ‘Without A Recipe!’” you’re currently screaming at your laptop, leaving little spittle marks. Calm down! I’ve modified it enough it deserves it’s spot on this blog.
Here’s how I do it:
First I heat regular milk, a stick of butter, and container of pre-chopped red onions in a saucepan on the stove. Then, I let it cool. I’m afraid of killing the yeast, and until recently sticking my finger in it was the only method I used to measure the temperature of liquids. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, I’ve mixed what appears to be about 4 Cups of flour and a good pour of corn meal. I’ve added several a fist of sugar and five solid shakes of salt. I’ve dumped two packets of active dry yeast across the top.
When I can hold my finger in the melted butter/milk pan for 10 seconds without screaming, I add it to my dry ingredients and get my hands dirty. When the dough is somewhat mixed, I pour in a can of creamed corn, a container of pre-chopped green peppers, and two whole eggs. I add flour by the cup-ful until the dough no longer feels like corn muffin mix and starts feeling more like bread dough. Then, I turn the dough out on a corn-mealed counter and work it. The dough will never feel as smooth as white-flour dough because the corn meal is gritty. Nevertheless, you will be able to see the dough stop sticking to your fingers.
Put the lump of dough back in the bowl and spray it down with Pam. Wet a paper towel and drape it over the bowl. Place the bowl in a warm spot and let the yeast build a sandcastle. After a few hours, when you’re wondering if the dough could actually eat you, turn it out on the counter again. First divide the dough in half. Divide one half into thirds. Make each third into a long worm. Braid the worms. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Let rise again, this time on cookie sheets.
Toward the end of letting the dough rise the second time, turn the oven on to 350 degrees. Put only one of the braids in the oven at a time. Bake until golden. While the dough is still hot, spread it with butter.