Braided egg bread

By Mary Berg
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YIELDS
2 LOAVES
TOTAL TIME

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups very warm water
  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 7–8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the warm water, yeast, and sugar and allow the yeast to bloom and bubble up for around ten minutes.
  2. When the yeast is all lovely and foamy, beat in the honey, vegetable oil, and eggs.  Holding the hook attachment for your stand mixer in your hand, beat in one cup of flour at a time until it gets too difficult to mix by hand.  Add in the salt.  Attach the hook to the mixer and knead the dough until it is smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky, adding more flour as needed.
  3. Cover the bowl with a small piece of plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for one to one and a half hours or until doubled in bulk.
  4. When the dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide the dough in half and give each a few kneads.  Set the balls of dough aside for about five minutes to relax the gluten then divide each ball into three equal pieces.  Roll each into a long snake about four centimeters in diameter.  Pinch the ends of three snakes together and braid them into one loaf. If you’d like, you can link the two ends of the loaf together to form a wreath. Do the same to the other three pieces of dough and lightly grease two baking sheets. Place the braided loaves onto the baking sheets and lightly cover each with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel and allow them to rise again in a warm spot for about one hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375F and beat the egg yolks with two tablespoons of water in a small bowl.  Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the loaves with the egg wash and sprinkle each with sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds.  Bake the loaves in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a deep golden brown then loosely tent the loaves with aluminum foil.  Continue baking the loaves for ten to 15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread registers 190F.
  6. Remove the loaves from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
  7. Store the loaves well wrapped at room temperature for up to three days or freeze for up to one month.

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