Homemade Herb Braided Bread are you ready for this?

Homemade Herb Braided Bread are you ready for this?
Besides the studio I am VERY at home in the kitchen. In fact, I love it there. If I had my way I would cook and bake far more often than I do. But then there's that whole "hours in the day" thing that gets in the way. One thing I love to make is bread. Now before you walk away and say, "I don't do yeast"! Stick with me.
This is a very easy bread to make. If you follow the instructions it WILL rise. And the result? Magnificent! I have made this dozens of times...and never a failure! And actually I almost HATE to give you the recipe. Really. It should be my special secret that goes to my grave with me....but see how nice I am?
Garden Herb Braided Bread
4 to 4-1/2 cups all purpose flour 3 Tablespoons sugar 2 packages of active dry yeast (1/4 ounce each) 1-1/2 teaspoons salt 1-1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram 3/4 teaspoons dried thyme 3/4 teaspoons dried rosemary 3/4 cup milk 1/2 cup water 1/4 cup butter 1 egg, beaten
In a mixing bowl combine 1-1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, salt and spices. Pretty isn't it? In a microwave safe measuring cup, combine the milk, water and butter. Heat for 15 seconds at a time until the temperature of the mix is between 120º and 130º degrees. Do not underheat...it won't rise. Do not overheat...it won't rise. Nuff said.
Pour over dry ingredients, add egg and blend well. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. No cheating. Seriously...set your timer.
Add enough remaining flour to create a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl (I spray mine with cooking spray) turn it over to coat both sides. Cover and walk away for 1/2 hour. Go check your email.
Punch dough down. Now tell me, who does NOT find this so so satisfying? Really.
Divide dough into three equal parts. Perfection is not important but it does help.
Roll each piece into a rope about 28 inches long.
Braid. I start in the middle, it makes it easier. Pinch the ends to seal. Isn't it pretty? I shape mine into a horseshoe, for the sole purpose of fitting on my baking sheet...but it's not necessary.
Cover and let rise for another 30 or so minutes. Take the dogs for a walk. Oh and now is a good time to preheat the oven to 375º.
Bake at 375º for 30-35 minutes. Make sure to take a peek around 20 minutes into the baking process. If it is getting too brown, cover it with foil. And there you have it. It tastes fantastic warm...but it's not too shabby when cool either! It's ok, you can thank me later! xoxoxox ~ lisa

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