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No special skills or tools are required to make this stunning bread in the shape of a sheaf of wheat. It may seem too pretty to eat -- but is too delectable not to.
To make the bread, complete steps 1 and 2 of the recipe for the pull-apart rolls, then punch down the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, and shape it into a ball.
Follow the steps to form and bake the sheaf, dusting your work surface and hands with flour as you go. When rolling the ropes, work with a few pieces of dough at a time, and keep the rest loosely covered with a clean kitchen towel.
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Divide and Roll
Quarter dough. Divide each quarter into 6 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll 21 pieces into ropes of varying lengths (between 12 and 15 inches).
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Flatten to Shape
Using your thumb, flatten about 2 inches at one end of each rope into a leaf shape. Pinch tips to create a point on each.
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Cut Leaf Veins
Using the tip of a paring knife, score a line down center of each leaf, then score or cut more lines off center to simulate veins.
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Form the Sheaf
Arrange ropes into a sheaf on a parchment-lined baking sheet, overlapping ropes. Fan out leaves and bend some ends.
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Add the Braid
Roll remaining 3 pieces into 10-inch ropes. Line up on surface; pinch one end of each rope to adhere them together. Braid ropes. Drape over sheaf, tucking in ends.
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Loosely cover sheaf. Let rise 20 minutes. Brush all over with a beaten egg. Bake in a 400-degree F oven until golden brown and cooked through, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve the bread warm from the oven.