1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for greasing the bowl- you can use same amount of any oil you have on hand
5 large eggs-(room temp is best but cold works too)
1 teaspoon salt
6 and 1/2 to 8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour-part of the flour will be used on the board while kneading the bread.Poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling.
1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 and 3/4 cups lukewarm water.(115-120)
2. Pour melted butter into yeast mixture, then beat in 5 eggs, one at a time, with remaining sugar and salt.
3. Gradually add flour- I usually start by adding 6 cups (1/2 cup at a time).
4. When dough holds together(it will start pulling away from the side of the bowl), it is ready for kneading.
5. Turn dough onto a floured surface (put about 1 c of flour on board) and knead until smooth.(I use a simple push and pull technique)
6. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a big bowl, put to dough in swirl it around to coat bottom then flip over.
7. Cover with plastic wrap, or clean towel, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size.
(Dough may also rise in an oven that has been warmed to 150 degrees then turned off.)
8. Punch down dough. Roll the dough out onto the work surface.
9. If making two large loaves then cut dough in half and push second half out of the way.
(If I am giving the bread away or adding it to a gift basket I will usually make 4-6 small loaves.)
10. Take the dough and cut it into 3 pieces. This is a simple braid, same as you would a little girls hair. Tuck the ends underneath on both ends of the braids and place on greased sheet or put into a greased loaf pan.
11. Beat a egg and brush it on loaves. Either freeze breads or let rise another hour. (If your house is warm, rising may take less time)
12. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Sprinkle bread with seeds, if using. If freezing, remove from freezer 5 hours before baking.
13. Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. (If you tap the top with fingernail and it sounds almost hollow it’s done) Cool loaves on a rack.
Note: Any of the risings can be done in the fridge for a few hours. When you’re ready to work with it again, bring it back to room temperature before moving onto the next step.