The smell of yeast rising or the delicious aroma of bread baking, how can you go wrong?
Since I had to work both Friday and Saturday, I wasn’t able to start baking until today (Sunday), hence, this post is coming out late at night. This recipe gives you a lot of downtime while the the bread rises, so if you have a day at home, it is quick to start and you can go on with your other chores. The raisins are also optional – my family and I adore raisins, so it was a no-brainer to add them, but if you aren’t a fan of them, there’s no harm in cutting them out of this recipe.
Makes: 2-4 medium-large sized loaves
- 1 1/2 tablespoons active yeast
- 1/4 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 3/4 cup warm water
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (plus any needed to coat bowls and baking sheets)
- 5-6 cups bread flour
- 6 egg yolks, plus one whole egg
- 1/2 - 1 cup of raisins (optional)
Time to Bake!
1. Combine the yeast, tablespoon sugar, and warm water in a large bowl. Let sit for a few minutes.
2. Using a whisk, mix in the vegetable oil. Then mix in the egg yolks, one by one.
3. Whisk in the remaining sugar and honey. Add the flour a half-cup at a time. (I wouldn’t use a stand mixer for this. I tried and it just went from all gooey to “dough” after a cup of flour – which wasn’t right. Mixing it by hand with a spoon will incorporate the flour better.) I used 5 cups in the bowl and then when I started to knead the dough, I added about half a cup more.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for about 5 minutes or until it is really elastic.
5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise for an hour or until double in size.
6. After it is double in size, punch down the dough, lightly oil the top of the dough and cover with saran wrap (this way when the dough rises to the top, it won’t stick to the saran wrap). Let rise for another hour. While waiting, if you want to add raisins, soak them in hot water to plump them up during this step.
7. Turn the dough back out onto your lightly floured surface. If using the raisins, lightly knead them in here.
(Very fluffy, puffy dough)
8. Cut it in half (since this makes 2-4 loaves, depending on how big you want the loaves to be, you can cut this up however you want). Divide the dough for each loaf into three lines. Proceed to braid it like you would braid someone’s hair. Wrap the ends underneath and press to join them together. (Side note: I’m really bad at braiding bread dough, so I would suggest looking at the two recipes that I used as the basis for this recipe for better braiding instructions. . . ). Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
9. Let the dough rise, covered for another half hour.
10. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
11. Lightly beat the remaining whole egg, and brush gently over the top of loaves. Make sure to get all the crevices too!
12. Bake for 40-50 minutes (mine only took 40 minutes) until the loaves are browned and sound hollow when tapped. You can also tell if it’s done by using a thermometer to check the interior has reached 190 degrees fahrenheit.
13. Let rest for a little bit and then dig in!