I know. I know! How can it possibly have taken me this bloody long to post this recipe when you’ve all seen it in my stories a million times now. Well to be honest I’ve had the hardest time getting a good picture of it. I think out of all the breads I make, though possibly the tastiest, it is the most un-photogenic loaf ever. And as shallow as this simple fact sounds, I’ve been trying different ways to photograph it to no avail because it still looks just, meh, in pictures. But go by my word and not by the photos because I assure you it is really really good!
I make this bread about once a week now, we use it for breakfast toasted alongside scrambled eggs, or in the kids’ lunches. They love that it doesn’t have a real crust, and I love that they don’t come back with half the sandwich still sitting in their lunch box.
I’ve tried a few variations of this bread but Molly Yeh’s version, with a bit of an adaptation has proven to be the best for me…at least in my opinion…and its the easiest and the least time consuming too, because you know I’m all about keeping things EEEEEZZZZZEEEE.
So here’s how I make it:
Ingredients (makes two loaves, half the recipe if you want only one!)
5 tsp active dry yeast 1 & 1/2 cups of warm tap water 1/2 cup of sugar divided 1 tbsp honey 1 tbsp salt 6 & 1/2 cups of flour 4 large eggs, plus 1 more for the egg wash 2/3 cup of vegetable oil (or sunflower oil) poppy seeds or flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top (optional) raisins soaked in water for mixing in (optional)
In a bowl mix the warm water, honey and yeast, stir a little with a spoon and set aside. Let the yeast activate, about 5 or so minutes. You’ll know its done when its all foamy.
In a large bowl, or a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour, salt and 1/4 cup of sugar. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, oil and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.
Add the yeast mixture, followed by the egg mixture to the flour and knead either by hand or with the mixer for about 10 minutes. The dough should be very sticky but smooth. Add the raisins in if you like…or leave it as is at this point.
Coat a clean bowl with a little oil, add the dough. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let it rise for about 2 to 2.5 hours.
On a floured surface cut the dough into two separate parts. Working with one piece at a time while keeping the other covered with a damp towel, roll out the dough slightly and with a sharp knife cut it into three equal lengths. Roll out each piece until its nice and long. To braid, pinch the ends of the three “snake like” pieces, braid then pinch the other side together when you’ve reached the end. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover with a damp cloth. Repeat with the second half of the dough. Let the loaves rise for another 30-40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375*F. When ready to bake, brush each loaf with egg wash (egg yolk beaten with 2 tbsp water). Sprinkle with salt or poppy seeds or none of the above and bake for about 25-30minutes. The top should be nice and golden brown and so should the bottom if you lift it up. Serve with copious amounts of butter.