If you want to impress people, make this bread. It’s not only beautiful to look at, but is literally mouth-watering. It’s my mom’s specialty that she makes for every holiday meal, and it’s the bread that I took to my now- in-law’s the first time I joined their family for Thanksgiving. For years, my younger cousin would ask for two loaves of this bread as his Christmas present from our family. No joke – it’s that good.
Time: 2 hours (mostly bake time)
- 6 – 6 ½ cups bread flour
- ¾ cups sugar
- 2 envelopes (2 Tbsp) rapid-rise yeast
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup + 1 Tsbp water
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees 15 minutes before baking.
- In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast and salt.
- Heat milk, water and butter until very warm. Gradually add to dry ingredients.
- Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally.
- Separate 1 egg (i.e., separate yolk and egg white); set egg white aside to use for glaze.
- Add remaining 2 whole eggs, egg yolk and ½ cup flour to batter. Beat 2 minutes at high speed or by hand until mixed.
- Stir in enough of remaining flour (approx. 3 more cups) to make a soft dough. Mix in the last ½ cup and use hands to mix, so that you can test the stickiness.
- Once the dough is soft but doesn’t stick to the hands, lay out on surface to knead. Knead for 5-8 minutes and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces; roll each into 20-inch ropes. Braid 3 ropes together; pinch ends to seal. Repeat with remaining ropes.
- Place braids on greased baking sheets. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
- Prepare egg glaze by adding 1 Tbsp water to the egg white. Brush on the dough with a pastry brush.
- Bake 23-25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.