The Flatbread Braid, New Video: How to Braid a Flat Circle


Zoe did a great post last month on a traditional braided loaf (made with peasant dough). I thought now might be a nice time to do a new video (it’s way at the bottom of this post), showing one of my favorite techniques, the flatbread braid. Flat or traditional tall, these techniques also work great with challah or brioche dough (but you need to bake those lower temp (350F) because of the egg and sweetener in the challah or brioche). As in the photo, you can turn around a straight braid to make a very festive ring, and I topped it with egg wash and poppy seeds. This dough is about 50/50 whole wheat and white flour, which is a wheatier version of the Light Whole Wheat (you don’t have to use the “old” dough). The 50/50 recipe appears in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Lately, I’ve been using the stand mixer more and more. We’ve been testing for a new book, so hand-mixing every day has become less exciting (though as we always say, a simple bucket and dough whisk or even just a wooden spoon work just fine). I used Red Star Platinum yeast in the dough recipe for the Light Whole Wheat, which you can see by by clicking here (the full version, including the 50/50 variation, appears on page 131 of the new book). 

Flatbread braid

You can start with the liquids or start with the solids. Unless you’re using vital wheat gluten (this recipe doesn’t have it), it doesn’t matter:

Add water

Scrape down with a rubber or plastic spatula if the dough starts “climbing” the paddle.

Scrape down

Use the paddle, also known as the “flat beater” rather than the dough hook (bottom), for our wet doughs. In most mixers we’ve tested with, the dough hook doesn’t do a good job for this kind of dough.

Burnished paddle and dough hook

Cover with something non-airtight, and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. Cut off chunks to shape the flatbread circle-braid–click on this video to see how:

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29 thoughts on “The Flatbread Braid, New Video: How to Braid a Flat Circle

  1. Hi,
    I am planning a bread and pizza party to introduce my 10-12 friends to your book and my favorite way of making fresh bread and pizzas!

    My plan is to make 4 large pizzas and 2-3 variation of breads.

    Any tips on how to make best use of oven? like what order should I put bread/pizza so that we all can get to see the magic and eat them in 3 hour time-frame?

    I am planning to make some dough beforehand so that it has flavor and is cold to handle it easily.

    1. It’s really much easier to do a class with two or more ovens. The problem is that our loaf breads, especially the bigger ones, can seem gummy if they’re not completely cooled before eating. So you have to do them right away, and let them cool. Pizza on the other hand can be eaten right away and needs no resting time. So do those second. You end up demonstrating the pizza while the loaf breads are baking and cooling.

      But frankly, it doesn’t work well– invariably the loaf breads aren’t cool. I make some way in advance to avoid the gumminess risk.

      1. Thats a great tip! Thanks so much! I will now definitely do breads first and pizza later.

      2. Also I tried making pizza with olive oil dough yesterday, oven temp was 550, and I put the stone in middle rack. I preheated for 45 minutes and baked pizza for 8-10 minutes, the problem was it did not create a crispy brown crust, it was bit under-done. But the cheese and toppings cooked way more quickly and I had to pull the pizza out before top gets burnt. What should I do to achieve brown and crisp crust?

      3. Hi Nia,

        You can start by placing the stone on the bottom rack. If it is a very thick stone, you can also try letting it preheat longer. Rolling the crust thin will also help it bake faster.

        Thanks, Zoë

  2. Epi shape works well for a bread you can eat while it is still quite warm. It is my solution to fresh bread in a hurry. I think it is at its best, the epi, while warm. I just had some for a fast breakfast, made from slightly over the hill peasant dough . Works well with older dough. May not be a sharp wheat stalk shape, but makes wonderful little connected rolls.I give it a 25-30 min. rise and around a 30 minute bake. They are delicious hot.

  3. Looks great, but the video is not appearing, either on my iPad or on my iPhone. Am I missing something? FYI, I have introduced your method to as many people as possible. I love it. Thank you!

    1. Hi Dana,

      The video is at the end of the post. Are you not seeing the video or it just won’t play? You may need to clear the cache if you are not seeing the video.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Well, I finally tried clearing my history on this old iPad, but I still am not seeing the video. Very strange. Is there another way to get to it? Thanks for your help.

      2. No need to reply on this one. I noticed “YouTube” in the web address, then found your video on YouTube!

  4. I have tried making the Master Recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day a number of times, but my loaves are always very small with little oven rise. Is there anything you can suggest please?


  5. I used your method to make Croatian yeast bread with cornmeal and bread flour. After baking the bread had a very strong alcohol smell and taste. What went wrong?

      1. 1.5 cups cornmeal, 7 cups flour, 6 teas instant yeast, 2-3 teas salt, little olive oil, water I left the dough out for 3 hours then refrigerated it till the next afternoon. The baked bread (350, 45 min) smelled STRONGLY of alcohol and tasted of it, too. Toasting seemed to help. I must have done something wrong. Using the standard method works but I wanted to try your method.

      2. Hi Joan,

        Does the recipe call for 2 tablespoons (6 teaspoons yeast)? You can try reducing the yeast to half of that, which is what we would use in our recipes. This will help with the alcohol smell and taste, since the yeast is what is producing it.

        Thanks, Zoë

      3. Thanks. I thought that seemed like a lot for your method, which I would like to be able to use. I’ll watch the amount of yeast on other personal recipes, too. (Great book, by the way.)

  6. My Pizza party along with Bread making demonstration was a complete hit!!! All of my friends loved this method of making bread and loved the texture/crumb/aroma of the bread.
    I also introduced them to your book!
    Thanks Zoe and Jeff!!!!

  7. I’m a newbie, and am working with your Master Recipe from “Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.” Can I cover the resting dough with anything other than plastic wrap? I wasn’t sure if there were alternatives. Many thanks!

  8. I tried making burger buns using master recipe, but they came out hard and chewy. (I did not use the steam method, just baked them directly, could that be the reason?)

    Which dough (I want it to be healthier than using all of all purpose flour) will help me with soft burger buns ( I dont want to use eggs in that recipe)?

    I have your New Artisan bread book.


  9. What I learned from my mom when braiding bread dough is to start braiding in the middle, then work backwards for the other half. It keeps you from having to manipulate such long strands of dough.

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