This traditional Jewish bread was a recipe taught to me by my cousins that I love to make. With the beautiful braided look and delicious taste, it is a great holiday recipe.
Yields 2 large braided breads
2 packages (2 tablespoons) of active dry yeast
1/2 of cup sugar
1 tablespoon of salt
5 1/2 to 6 cups of unbleached all purpose or bread flour
1 3/4 cups of hot water (120 degrees)
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, melted
Poppy or sesame seeds
Place yeast, sugar, salt and 2 cups of flour in a large bowl.
Add water, eggs, and butter. Beat hard with a whisk until smooth, about 3 minutes while craping sides of bowl occasionally.
Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time with a wooden spoon. Continue beating until dough is too stiff to stir.
Place dough onto lightly floured board.
Adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time, knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double, about 1 to 1.5 hours.
Gently deflate dough, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 equal portions.
Roll each section into a strip and lay 3 strips aide by side. Braid each 3 strips from middle to taper ends. Pinch ends and tuck them under.
Place on a greased or parchment-line baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise until almost doubled, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Brush dough with egg wash and sprinkle with seeds.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a deep golden brown.
Carefully lift braids off baking sheet with a spatula to cool completely before slicing.
SOURCE: "BREAD" by Beth Hensperger