Six strand braiding isn't as difficult as it seems. Well, maybe almost as difficult, but it is definitely doable. And braiding bread dough is much easier than braiding hair. The dough stays exactly where it is put.
It's much easier to keep track of which strand goes where if you use both hands at once.
The finished braid. Note how the ends have been tucked under.
The sideways "S" shape of the "occhi di Santa Lucia" (eyes of St. Lucy) is a popular shape for Lucia bread and is used in saffron buns traditionally made all over Scandinavia to celebrate Santa Lucia Day (13 December). Please look at the photos of Lucia buns to see the shaping in more detail.
Festive bread made with milk, eggs, butter and sugar. Admittedly, this bread was allowed to rise too much and flattened out. Even so, it was completely delicious. Isn't it wonderful that bread is very forgiving! (Please look at more photos of this festive bread.)
We are gluttons for punishment and put together this video in an attempt to explain the two hand 6-strand braiding technique further.
Six Strand Braiding
excerpt from www.antiquespectacles.com:
Saint Lucy of Syracuse (284-304), also known as Saint Lucia, Santa Lucia, or Saint Lukia, [...] Patroness of Syracuse, also the principal Catholic representative of the patron saint of the blind and those with eye-trouble; Protector of Eyesight; also patron saint of Opticians, Ophthalmologists and Firemen; the patron saint of the sailor [...]
The chosen feature of her sainthood is not, however, the martyrdom itself, but a previous incident. It was said that her lover had so greatly admired her beautiful eyes that she felt it was a sin. The legend continues, "considering these things and calling to mind the words of Christ, 'If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee,' and fearing lest her eyes should be the cause of damnation to the young man, she called for a knife and took out her eyes and sent them to her lover in a dish with these words; 'Here hast thou what thou so much desired.' Whereat the young man became utterly astonished and full of grief and remorse became also a convert to Christ. God would not suffer that the blessed Lucia, having given proof of her courage and piety, should remain blind, for one day, as she knelt in prayer her eyes were restored to her more beautiful than before."