Yields: 2 Medium Loaves
2 tbs. active, dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
3-5 tbs. honey, sugar, brown sugar, or molasses, depending on sweetness desired
¼ cup melted butter or oil
4 large eggs
1 tbs. salt
6-8 cups flour*
2 cups golden raisins or currants (optional)
¼ cup poppy and/or sesame seeds (optional)
* an equal blend of emmer flour, whole grain hard white wheat flour, and all purpose flour yields a chewy bread with a sweet, rich flavor
Add the yeast to the water and let stand for a few minutes.
Beat the eggs, then reserve 3 Tbs. to be used to brush on the crust.
Mix the sweetener, oil or butter, remaining eggs, salt, and about 3 cups of flour into the yeast mixture. (If you’re using raisins or currants, add them now.) When this is blended, add another cup of flour and stir vigorously for several minutes. Gradually mix in the remaining flour until the dough can be turned out onto a floured surface and kneaded.
Knead until dough is smooth (about 10 minutes), then place in a large buttered bowl covered with a damp tea towel and let rise until doubled in bulk. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead briefly, then divide the dough into two equal pieces.
To make a braided loaf, divide a chunk of dough into three equal pieces, then roll the pieces out into long snakes. Line the pieces up and let them rest for a few minutes, then pinch the ends together, braid, and pinch the other ends together. Repeat the process with the other chunk of dough.
Loaves can also be shaped into small buns or baked in traditional bread pans for sliced bread.
Place on a greased baking pan and let rise until doubled.
Just before baking, brush loaves with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds, if desired.
Bake at 350° for about 30-40 minutes, until loaves are golden and a thump on the bottom of the loaves sounds hollow. Place on a wire rack to cool.