In large bowl, dissolve
yeast in warm water. Add sugar and oil and mix well with a whisk or a
wooden spoon. Beat in 4 eggs, 1 at a time. Gradually stir in bread flour,
2 cups of all-purpose flour and salt, until dough holds together.
Knead on lightly floured
surface for about 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic, adding
remaining 1 1/2 cups flour as needed. To knead by machine: in an
electric mixer fitted with dough hook, knead for 5 minutes on medium speed,
or until smooth.
Place dough in oiled
bowl and let rest covered, in warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled
in size. Punch down. Cover again, and let rise in a warm place for 30
Preheat oven to 400°F.
To braid: Divide dough
in half. Divide first half into 3 sections. Roll each section into a tapered
rope. Place side by side and start braiding from center down. Braid other
end. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Repeat with second dough.
Place braided loaves
on a greased cookie sheet with at least 2 inches in between. Let loaves
rise another hour, uncovered. Fifteen minutes before putting loaves in
oven, beat remaining egg and brush it gently over them. Five minutes later,
lightly brush again, and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds. Let dry
a few minutes.
Bake loaves on middle
rack of oven for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375°F and bake
for 30 minutes more. Turn off oven and leave loaves in 5 minutes to get
a dark-golden crust. Remove and cool on a rack.
Yield: 2 loaves
recipe from www.inmamaskitchen.com
Tip: Soak 3/4 cup dark
raisins and 1/4 cup yellow raisins in 6 tablespoons dark rum for 1 hour
or more. Add rum-soaked raisins with any leftover rum to dough after 5
minutes of kneading, adding a few tablespoons more flour to absorb the
liquid. If you are using a mixer or food processor, work raisins in by
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