If you’ve been resisting the temptation of delicious carbs for so long you feel like your heart is about to burst, just let it go and give in to the temptation of this double ginger challah shaped like Elsa’s braid in Frozen.
Disney Week: Elsa’s Frozen Lemon Ginger Braid
1 tbsp yeast
1 cup warm water
⅔ cup sugar + 1 tbsp
½ cup chopped crystallized ginger
1 tbsp ginger powder
½ tbsp lemon extract *
¼ cup (1 stick) room temperature butter
1 tsp salt
5 – 5 ½ cups bread flour
1 cup powdered sugar
4 tbsp (½ stick) room temperature butter
½ tsp lemon extract
¼ cup water
1-2 drops blue food coloring
This easy bread takes a solid, reliable dough and spices it up with both powdered and crystallized ginger. The end result is a creamy loaf that’s sweeter than you expect.
Start by melting 1 tbsp of yeast and 1 tbsp of sugar in the warm water. Let it bubble and rise for ten minutes. Now bring the rest of the sugar to the party. To keep it from getting lonely, spice things up with both the crystallized ginger, ginger powder, and lemon extract.
Give that a good stir, then add in the eggs, salt, and stick of room temperature butter. Keep mixing until the eggs and butter have turned the whole bowl into a thick, sloppy mess.
Now gradually add your flour, mixing it in after each cup, until you achieve a nice, solid dough. If you have a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and let it knead away on your behalf for 6-8 minutes. If you’re kneading by hand, you’ll probably need to keep it up for about 8-10 minutes in order to achieve a nice, glossy dough that’s not too wet or tacky to the touch.
Cover the dough and let it rise for an hour.
When you come back, punch the dough down. Once it deflates, cut it into six roughly equal pieces.
Roll each piece into a long, thin tube of dough.
To make her head, simply pretend you’re winding three strands of dough into the world’s largest cinnamon roll.
Braid the other three strands together.
Carefully attach the braid at the base of the neck. You’ll probably need to do a bit of tucking and folding here and there to make it look natural. To give the effect of her incredibly long, always mobile braid, feel free to give it a little S curve. Make sure you tug it to taper the end, then pinch it to a point for that extra bit of realism.
Now cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise for another 40-45 minutes, or until not quite double in size.
Resist the urge to give it a nice egg glaze. In honor of Elsa, we have other plans that will result in a pretty ice blue sheen.
Bake the bread at 350F for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is a light golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when you tap it.
Make the icing while the bread bakes.
First melt the butter. Now add the lemon extract and 1 tbsp water. Carefully squeeze in a single drop of blue food coloring. Trust me. A little goes a long way. You want a long, blonde braid with a faint hint of blue, just like in the movie. Add all the powdered sugar and start whisking. Once the icing is lump-free, if it’s too thick, add another tablespoon of water. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar. You want something thin enough to paint on, but thick enough to stick.
As soon as the bread comes out of the oven, paint on the first layer of glaze. Let the bread cool completely, then paint on the second layer of icing. The goal here is to give it a beautiful blonde sheen with just a hint of icy blue around the edges.
I served mine on a white platter with a bit of extra icing spalshed around for good measure, but you’re welcome to let it cool then serve it more subtly. It looks equally good served simply, on a sheet of parchment paper, or arranged on a big blue serving platter in honor of her dress.
* I’m normally big on using natural ingredients whenever possible, but I went with lemon extract rather than lemon juice in this bread. To get the same punch, you’d need the juice of two entire lemons. They bring a lot of acidity to the party, and that keeps the bread from rising up into a big, beautiful braid.