This lovely braided bread filled with homemade jam will impress your family and guests.
This is not a quick bread to make—it will take the better part of an afternoon, but the results are simply stunning!
If you’re looking for a delicious addition to your next Sunday brunch or a decadent dessert to round out your dinner, keep reading to learn how to make this incredible dish!
A Jam Specifically Designed for Baking
This loaf of bread does not contain the typical store-bought strawberry jam. It is significantly thicker and more flavorful than the typical store-bought jam.
This is because the jam must spread over the dough like a thick paste and remain in place throughout the baking process.
Traditional jams contain slightly more water; as a result, they tend to leak out, leaving you with dry bread.
Making Strawberry Jam
Three simple ingredients are used to make this jam: strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice.
You can take it a step further and add some fresh thyme to round out the flavors, but this is not required. While this jam is simple to prepare, here are a few tips to keep in mind when making your own!
- Alternatively, use a larger pan or a 12-inch skillet. It enables even cooking of the jam.
- Keep a close eye on the jam as it cooks. If you’re making small batches of jam, as this recipe calls for, I recommend staying close to your pan. Keep an eye on the jam and do not leave it unattended. Bear in mind that the cooking time for smaller batches is approximately 10-12 minutes.
- Constantly stirring. Due to the small batch size, things can quickly deteriorate from undercooked to burnt jam in as little as 30 seconds. Stir the jam constantly to prevent it from burning.
- Conduct a doneness check. Drag the spatula through the jam’s center. If the cleared space remains empty for a few seconds, your jam is over. If it rushes to close the gap, it will require additional time.
Awakening The Yeast
This bread is made with yeast, and in order for it to rise properly, it must be awakened. Dry yeast is dormant and in hibernation. Our job is to reawaken it so it can perform its function!
Regardless of the type of yeast used, as there are numerous varieties, yeast requires special handling.
You will require water. Warm water, not hot or cold, is used to activate the yeast. Take care when using your water; if it is too hot, it will kill the organisms in the yeast before they can do their job.
The ideal temperature is approximately 97°F, the temperature of the human body. If the liquid is too hot, allow it to cool for a few seconds before monitoring it with a digital thermometer.
Is Braiding Difficult?
If you are capable of braiding your own hair, you are also capable of braiding dough! While it may appear intimidating at first, braiding the bread dough is a breeze once you get the hang of it (or is it a breadwalk?).
Be gentle with the dough, but don’t be afraid to be confident! Trust your abilities, and your braided loaf will look amazing when it comes out of the oven.
Once you have the dough pieces in your hands, gently pull and twist them together to create an overlapping pattern and braid.
By twisting the dough as you braid, you allow for greater visibility of the jam while preventing any from leaking out during the baking process.
Is Special Equipment Required?
If, like me, you’ve worked in a professional kitchen, you’ll want to knead the dough with your bare hands. This process is extremely therapeutic and meditative, and I’ve grown to adore it!
However, if you are concerned about the smoothness of your dough or are in a hurry to make this bread, you can use a stand mixer.
They are somewhat bulky, heavy, and expensive, but they truly do produce amazing results! It’s definitely an item you should consider purchasing for your kitchen.
Cake ingredients to prepare:
For the dough:
- ¾ cup hot water
- ½ tbsp dry yeast
- 1 large egg
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
For the strawberry jam:
- 10 oz. strawberries, hulled, sliced
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup sugar
For the egg wash:
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp water
For the icing:
- ½ cup icing powder
- 1-2 tbsp water
How To Make Strawberry Braided Jam
Produce the bread.
Whisk together water, yeast, eggs, butter, and honey in a mixing bowl.
Allow 5 minutes for it to sit.
Stir in flour until just combined.
Knead the dough until smooth on a flour-dusted kitchen counter (or knead your dough in a stand mixer).
Cover the dough with a cloth or plastic wrap and place it in a clean bowl. Allow 2 hours for the dough to rise.
To make the jam, slice the strawberries and combine them with the sugar and lemon juice in a saucepot or skillet. Allow 10 minutes for the strawberries to release their juices.
Cook the strawberries over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, or until the jam has thickened.
Allow it to cool completely before handling.
After allowing the dough to double in size, punch it down and roll it out into a rectangle.
Distribute the jam evenly throughout the center and cut the exposed dough into thin strips (mine were about 12-inch thick).
Twist the strips from left to right and crisscross them over the filling.
Wrap the bread in plastic wrap and set it aside for another hour to rise.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
To make an egg wash, whisk together the egg yolk and water. Brush the egg wash over the bread.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown.
To make the icing, whisk together sugar and water until a thick paste forms.
Drizzle icing on top of the bread.
Finally, slice, serve, and enjoy! Finish off your Strawberry Jam Braided Bread!