A delicious braided egg bread.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 2 loaves 1x
- Category: Bread, Yeast Bread
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water (about 110°)
- 1/3 cup sugar, plus a pinch
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, thinly sliced, plus 2 tablespoons, melted
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature, plus 1 extra-large egg beaten with 1 extra-large egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water, for glazing
- About 6 cups bread flour
- Cornmeal, for dusting
- In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water with the pinch of sugar and let stand until it starts to bubble. In a medium saucepan, combine the sliced butter and the milk. Warm over low just until the butter melts. Stir in the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar, honey and salt. Pour the milk mixture into a large bowl and stir in the yeast and the 4 eggs.
- Grease a large bowl with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Place the dough in the buttered bowl and brush the top with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of melted butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a thin towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 2 hours.
- Punch down the dough, then cover and let rise until doubled again, about 1 1/4 hours.
- Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle the paper with cornmeal. On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough in half. Cover one-half with plastic wrap and divide the other half into 3 equal pieces. Using lightly floured hands, roll each piece into a 10-inch-long rope with tapered ends.
- Arrange the ropes side by side and just touching. Starting in the middle and working toward one end, braid the ropes together, bringing the outside ropes over the center one. Pinch the ends to seal and tuck them under. Turn the loaf around and repeat with the other half, this time braiding the outer ropes under the center one. Seal the ends, tuck them under and transfer the loaf to a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cover the loaves with thin towels and let rise for 35 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Brush the loaves with the egg glaze. Let stand uncovered for 10 minutes, then brush again with the glaze. Bake the loaves in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, switching the pans halfway through baking, for 35 to 45 minutes, or until they are golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Tent the loaves with foil if they become too brown during baking. Transfer to a rack and let cool thoroughly before slicing.
Total time does not include proofing times