It's been long since i baked something good.So decided to bake and started looking into my fav.Cook book "America's test kitchen".Whatever i tried from this book, came out very well.So finally made my mind on this eggy braided bread from Jewish cuisine.Got attracted to this bread just because of the braids.The end product was so good didn't feel like eating it.After started eating it, couldn't stop ..:))These make sensational french toast also.
All Purpose flour - 3 and 1/2 cups
Water (warm) - 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp
Butter - 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Eggs - 2 (large)
Egg yolk - 1 (large)
Egg yolk - 1 (large)
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Instant or rapid rise yeast - 1 envelope ( 2 1/4 tsp)
Salt - 1 1/4tsp
Sesame seeds or poppy seeds - 1tsp (optional)
You can mix the dough either with hand, or stand mixer or even processor.I am posting the food processer method here.Whisk 1/2 cup of the water,butter,eggs, and egg yolk together in a liquid measuring cup.Pulse 3 cups of the flour,sugar,yeast and salt in a food processor(fitted with a dough blade if possible) to combine.With the processor running,pour the egg mixture through the feed tube and process until a rough ball forms, 30 to 40 sec.s.Let the dough rest for 2 min.s, then process for 30 sec.s longer.Turn the dough out onto a clean counter and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball, about 5 minutes, adding the remaining 1/ cup flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter.Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 and 1 1/2 hours.
Whisk the egg white and the remaining 1 tbsp water together to make egg wash.Turn the dough into a lightly floured counter.Divide the dough into two, one twice as large as the other.Divide each dough into 3 pieces and roll each piece out into 16 - inch ropes( three ropes will be much thicker).Braid two loaves,(just like braiding our hair),one large and one small.Transfer the large braid to a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, brush with egg wash, and secure the smaller braid on top.cover with greased plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it has nearly doubled in size and springs back slowly when intended with a finger, 30 to 60 minutes.( i had a small amount of dough left over after braiding, so just made a smaller braid and attached it to the top end)
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.Brush the loaf with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.Bake until golden, 30 to 40 minutes.Transfer the bread to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature before slicing, about 2 hours.( again i couldn't wait till that time :))
Tips : For easier dough rising, especially on these winter days, heat the oven to 200 degress and then switch it off.After 10 minutes or so, place the dough inside the oven.I use the same method sometimes for dosa batter fermentation.In not so wintery days, just switch on the oven light and place the dough inside.