An amazing egg bread. Great for french toast the next day or fantastic for bread pudding.
Yield: this recipe makes a really large loaf
1 cup warm water
½ cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 teaspoons instant yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons poppy seed or sesame seed
In a large bowl, stir together with a fork, water, sugar, eggs, salt and butter. Sprinkle the 3 teaspoons instant yeast over top of mixture and mix together well.
Slowly add the 4 cups flour, mixing well between additions, until dough can be gathered up for kneading. On a lightly floured surface knead dough with as much flour as necessary until the dough is smooth and elastic and not sticky.
Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover bowl with a damp kitchen towel or piece of plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in size, about 2 hours. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Punch down the dough, and cut into 3 pieces for braiding. Roll out each piece of dough roughly 12-14 inches and braid them together. Fold end of braid slightly under loaf.
Place the braided loaf on the parchment lined cookie sheet. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and place a dry kitchen towel over the plastic wrap. Let rise again until doubled in size about 45-60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F
Gently brush the braid with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds.
Bake the braid until it is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 30-35 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
*tip: for a warm, draught free, place to let dough rise – try the oven. Turn oven on for a few seconds just to barely warm the inside, turn oven off and put dough inside and close oven door.