Friday, March 1, 2013

Trenza (filled braided bread) Recipe/Tutorial



I served as a missionary in Guatemala for a year and a half. While I was there I made friends with a baker. One night he invited us over to his house for an activity. He taught us to make trenzas (spanish for braids) which are a delicious filled bread. Once I came home I adapted the recipe for ease and to fit the ingredients that are common in the States.

Dough

You can use your favorite pizza or crescent dough brand or recipe. I like to use my Uncle's (http://zyzmog.blogspot.com/) pizza dough.

Makes enough dough for 2 Trensas
1 C. warm water
1 Pkg. yeast OR 1 Tbsp. dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
3-1/2 C. flour
1-1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. oil

Dissolve yeast. Add sugar, salt and oil to water. Then add 2 cups flour and mix. Gradually add rest of flour. Put in greased bowl and let rise 1 hour.


Fillings

Today I am making a Chicken Alfredo Trenza and a Chicken Pesto Trenza. You can use pretty much any fillings you like. Precook any raw meat to make sure it gets cooked through.

Filling for Chicken Alfredo Trenza
2 chicken tenderloins (already cooked, seasoned, and cubed)
3-5 rounded tablespoons alfredo sauce
1/2 cup frozen corn

Filling for Chicken Pesto Trenza

2 chicken tenderloins (already cooked, seasoned, and cubed)
1 cup shredded colby-jack cheese

2-3 rounded tablespoons pesto

Other Filling Ideas

Here are a few of our favorite flavors.

  • Sandwich Style - Deli meat, sliced cheese, your favorite condiments (ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard). This is how my baker friend in Guatemala liked them best.
  • Pizza Style - Pizza sauce, shredded cheese, and your favorite pizza toppings.
  • Loaded Baked Potato - shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, bacon bits, chives, and baked potato slices (optional)
  • Breakfast - Scrambled eggs, sausage or bacon crumbles, shredded cheese.
  • Sausage, Baby Spinach, Mozzarella, and Pesto.
It's a very versatile recipe. Feel free to substitute your favorite fillings. If you find a good combination comment and tell us about it.


Assembly

Preheat the oven to 425°F (or whatever temperature your dough recipe calls for).
Roll out the dough into a rectangle. Spread the filling along the center of the rectangle. I usually spread any sauce on first and the more solid ingredients on last because that makes for less mess.

Cut each side as shown. (I'll often use a clean pair of kitchen scissors for this step). Each strip should be about 1 inch wide.
Next you will begin folding the strips over top of the filling. Pick a corner to start with and fold that strip over first. Then fold the strip across from the first one. Then, the strip next to the first one. Continue alternating sides until all the strips are folded across.
If at any point the strip is too long you can cut off the excess.  I usually roll the extra bits into breadsticks and top them with herbs and cheese. The last strips especially usually need to be cut short.
Top sprinkle with herbs or finely shredded cheese and bake about 25 minutes. Check after 15 min. The time to bake will vary based on the thickness of the dough, the moisture level of the filling, and other factors. The trenza is ready to eat when the bottom is no longer doughy and the top is golden brown.

Enjoy!



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