Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hyacinth stirs my sleep
spring’s soft light washes upon my face
A hunger is fed

Egg Bread - yields 1 (12-inch) loaf

5 cups all-purpose flour
1/3-cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1-cup warm water
2 1/2-teaspoons yeast
1/4-cup walnut or almond oil
1-tablespoon orange blossom water
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
Egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon cream)

Place the flour, sugar and salt in a work bowl, and mix to evenly distribute.

Dissolve the yeast in a small bowl in the water. Then mix in the oil, orange water, eggs and yolk. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the yeast mixture. Work to form a dough mass, then turn out onto a floured surface and knead the dough until it is smooth. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature until double in size. This will take approximately one hour.

Return the dough a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate the dough with the palms of your hands. Divide the dough into thirds and roll each piece into 12 inch long logs. Place the strands side by side on a lined baking tray and begin to braid the bread. Start braiding from the center of the loaf to one end and then turn the pan around, and
finish braiding. This technique helps create a more uniform thickness. Pinch the ends closed and tuck them under the loaf. Loosely cover the loaf with oil plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise again until almost double in size.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Brush the top of the bread with the egg wash and place in the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and has an internal temperature of 210 degrees. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.

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