Who can resist fresh baked bread served warm from the oven? Definitely not me. This recipe is easy to make, light, airy and perfect for enjoying all on its own or with a pat of Homemade Honey Butter.
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 small packet of active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk for brushing
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°. Combine 1 1/2 cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. In a small saucepan heat the milk and butter until warm. Add the milk and butter mixture along with the 2 eggs to the dry ingredients.
Blend on low to medium speed in an electric mixer with a hook attachment until well combined. Continue to beat on low speed until smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn the greased-side up. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.
On a lightly floured surface, punch down the dough. Divide it into three equal portions and roll each portion into a long strip. Place side by side on a cookie sheet and pinch the three strips together at one end.
Braid the strips evenly. Pinch the ends together to seal. Cover and let rise until light and doubled in size, or about 40 minutes.
Brush with the beaten egg yolk and sprinkle evenly with poppy seeds. Bake in a preheated oven at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Tap the loaf to make sure it sounds hollow.
Homemade Honey Butter
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons honey
Mix together. Spread the mixture between two pieces of parchment paper to about 1/4″ thick and refrigerate. When firm, cut out shapes appropriate to the season. Serve with the fresh baked bread and enjoy!