Prep 3 hrs
Cook 1 hr
This comes from the well known chef James Beard.
- 5 cups all-purpose flour or 5 cups unbleached hard-wheat flour
- 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 1⁄2 cups milk
- 1⁄4 cup butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten with
- 1 tablespoon water
- sesame seeds
- In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, sugar, salt, and dry yeast.
- Heat the milk and butter in a pan just until the milk is warm.
- The butter does not need to melt.
- Add the eggs and the warm milk mixture to the flour mixture.
- Mix very well until thoroughly moistened, and beat with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
- Turn out on a floured board, and knead the dough until it is quite smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
- Work into a ball, place in a buttered bowl, and turn to coat with butter on all sides.
- Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until light and doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hrs.
- Punch the dough down and divide into six equal portions.
- Roll each of these portions into a thin cylinder about 8 to 10 inches long.
- Take three strips and braid them together.
- Place the braid on a baking sheet, which should be buttered or sprinkled with cornmeal.
- Braid the remaining three strips and place about six inches away from the other loaf.
- For a more spectacular loaf, make a braid of three large strips and then a braid of three smaller strips, and put one on top of the other.
- Cover the loaves and let rise in a warm, draft-free space until doubled in bulk, which will take another 1 1/2 hrs.
- Brush with the egg white and water, sprinkle lavishly with sesame seeds.
- If you've made two smaller loaves, bake in a preheated 375 F oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
- The single, larger loaf will need a good hour in the oven.