Since I first made this bread a few years ago, it's become a much-requested recipe. I'm sure I'll pass it down to future generations.
- 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
- In a large bowl, combine 2-1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In a small saucepan, heat water and oil to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients along with eggs. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Set a third of the dough aside. Divide remaining dough into three pieces. Shape each into a 13-in. rope. Place ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under.
- Divide reserved dough into three equal pieces; shape each into a 14-in. rope. Braid ropes. Center 14-in. braid on top of the shorter braid. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- In a small bowl, beat egg and water; brush over dough. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cover with foil during the last 15 minutes of baking. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 1 loaf (16 slices).
Originally published as Braided Egg Bread in Country Woman Christmas Annual 2001, p18
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