25 November 2006
You will need:
7 cups flour
1 T salt
1/2 cup sugar (or honey)
2 packages yeast + 1/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup oil
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
This recipe makes the equivalent of 3 braided loaves.
Beat eggs in a small bowl.
In a large bowl mix oil, sugar and salt.
Add boiling water to large bowl and stir until all is dissolved.
Sprinkle yeast into a measuring cup with 1/3-cup warm water. Wait a few minutes, then stir.
Add cold water to mixture in large bowl. (The mixture in the bowl should now be the right temperature to add yeast. If too hot, wait a few minutes; if too cold, put the bowl in the microwave to heat it.)
Add yeast to large bowl.
Add eggs to large bowl, reserving about 1 tablespoon.
Add flour 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
Turn out dough onto floured board and knead for 5 minutes, adding more flour as needed (but not too much). Dough is ready if it springs back after being poked with a finger.
Put back into bowl, cover with dishtowel, and put in warm oven (heated to 170-200, and then turned off beforehand) until doubled - about 1 hour.
Turn out onto floured board and knead for 1-2 minutes.
Divide dough into thirds. Take one of the thirds, and knead for another minute. Form into 3 large snakes for braid. For braids, pinch ends of 3 large snakes together and begin braiding. Pinch ends together when done. Place on greased baking sheet. Repeat for 2 other thirds. Turn oven to 350. Brush tops gently with reserved egg. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds, if desired.
Bake for about 30 minutes Times will vary.
Watch for moderate browning on top, but be careful not to allow scorching on bottom.
Remove from pans, and put on dish towels to cool.