|2||Packages dry yeast|
|5 cups||Bread or all-purpose flour|
|⅓ cup||Butter or margarine, room temperature|
|1 cup||Hot water (120-130 )|
|1||Egg yolk beaten, mixed with|
|2 tablespoons||Sugar, and|
|1 teaspoon||Cold water|
|1 teaspoon||Poppy seeds|
|1 large||Baking sheet, greased|
In a large mixing bowl combine the yeast, 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and butter or margarine. Gradually add the hot water and beat forcefully by hand or at medium speed using the mixer flat beater, for 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl occasionally. Add the saffron, eggs and egg white (reserving the yolk). The batter will be thick. Beat at high speed for 2 minutes. Continue to add flour with a wooden spoon or change to a dough hook in the mixer. Add about 3 additional cups of flour, one at a time, until the rough mass is no longer sticky. If it continues to be moist, add small amounts of flour until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside until it has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Remove plastic wrap, punch the dough down and knead out the bubbles.
Divide the dough in half. To braid, divide each half into three equal pieces. Under your palms roll each into a 12" length. Lay the rolls parallel to each other. Start the braid in the middle and work to one end. Pinch the end securely together. Turn around and complete the other end. Repeat with the other dough half. Carefully brush the braids with the egg glaze. Sprinkle liberally with poppy seeds. Don't cover the braids for the second rise. They will double in bulk in about an hour. Preheat oven to 400 before baking. Bake until the braids are shiny brown, 30 to 40 minutes, and test done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry and clean. Carefully remove the bread from the baking sheet and cool on wire racks. A long braided loaf fresh from the oven is fragile and should be moved with care (and a spatula under it's bottom). Do not cut until it has cooled and firmed a bit.
Posted By saul.esformes@... (SAUL ESFORMES) On rec.food.recipes or rec.food.cooking
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