Equipment available here.
- 500 g bread flour (200 g then 6 x 50 g)
- 10 g instant yeast
- 10 g salt
- 75 g white sugar (caster/superfine)
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 large eggs (plus one yolk)
- 125 ml water (lukewarm)
- rainbow food colouring (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple)
For the glaze
- 1 egg white
- poppy seeds (optional)
- Put the lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl, add the yeast, and then sprinkle 200 g of the flour on top to create a barrier between the yeast and the other ingredients.
- Add the salt, sugar, and oil. Crack one of the eggs into a small bowl. Scoop out the yolk and add it to the large mixing bowl, then set the single egg white aside.
- Crack the other two eggs into the large mixing bowl, then stir everything together until fairly well combined – it will be very difficult to avoid lumps at this stage.
- Split the mixture evenly between 6 small bowls, and then add food colouring to each bowl: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
- Add another 50 g of flour to each bowl, and mix to incorporate. You will now have to knead each dough indivudulally, for about 5 minutes, until it is soft and smooth. I recommend using food safe latex gloves for this, to avoid colouring your hands!
- In 6 clean bowls, place each dough and rub with a little oil. Cover each bowl with a tea towel, cling film, or a shower cap. Leave to rise, until the dough has doubled in size, for 2 to 3 hours.
- Tip the dough out onto a clean work surface and knock back. Roll into long sausage shaped strands. Join the 6 pieces together at one end, ready to plait.
- Split the pieces into 2 distinct groups of 3 strands. Right hand crossed over left, pick up the outer strands. Swapping hands back, hold the left hand up at the 10 o’clock position, whilst placing the right hand strand to the inside of the left group. Then pick up the outer strand of the left group with the right hand and hold the strand up at the 2 o’clock position. Place the left hand strand down on the inside of the right group. Continuing to hold the right hand strand up, pick up the outer strand of the right group with the left hand, anod move it to the 10 o’clock position. Place the right hand strand to the inside of the left group.
- Continue in this manner until you have braided the entire loaf.
- Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Transfer the plait to the tray and brush with the reserved egg white. Cover the loaf, leaving to prove again for about an hour until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) / 170°C (340°F) fan. Brush the plait with more egg white, and sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
- The loaf colours quickly because of the sugar and egg, so keep an eye on it, covering with foil if necessary to stop further browning. Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.