Double-braided, egg-enriched traditional bread, topped with poppy seeds.
unbleached all-purpose flour
yeast, active dry
or canola oil
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt.
In a small saucepan, heat the water and oil to 120 degrees F. Add to the bowl with the dry ingredients along with the eggs. Beat on medium speed using paddle attachment for 3 minutes. Switch to dough hook attachment and stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Knead with dough hook on medium speed for approximately 8 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. The dough many also be kneaded by hand by turning it out onto a lightly-floured board and kneading until smooth, about 6-8 minutes.
Place dough in a greased/oiled bowl, turning once to coat the top. Cover with a damp towel or oiled plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly-floured surface. Set one-third of the dough aside (cover). Divide remaining dough into three (3) pieces. Shape each piece into a 13-inch rope. Place ropes on a greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under.
Divide the reserved dough piece into three (3) equal pieces; shape each piece into a 14-inch rope and braid. Center this braid on top of the shorter braid on the baking sheet. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, beat the egg and water to make a wash; brush all over the top of the braided dough. Sprinkle all over with poppy seeds.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden, covering the bread with foil during the last 15 minutes of baking if getting too brown. Remove from oven to wire rack to cool.