This is the sweet egg bread of the Sabbath for Jew. For practicing Jews, a week’s worth of bread is made on Friday, so the bread is fresh for the Sabbath observance. Today many cooks still follow this tradition or make the bread for special meals, excluding Passover. The sesame or poppy seeds sprinkled on top of the braided bread represent manna, the bread God provided for the Jews during their 40-year exodus from Egypt. Neat to use on Christmas or Easter.
I found this in a magazine about 17 years ago and have made it for holidays ever since. Keeps very well.
Servings: 20Prep Time: 3 hours Cook Time: 30-35 min
1 package dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups four, divided (4 to 4 1/2)
vegetable cooking spray
Dissolve yeast and 1 tsp sugar in 1/2 c warm water; let stand 5 min.
Combine oil and next 4 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended.
Add yeast mixture and 2 c flour; beat until smooth.
Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough (dough should be slightly sticky).
Cover dough, and let rest 10 min.
Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead 5 minutes (tip: flour board and hands for best results). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
Punch down dough; turn dough out onto a well -floured surface, and knead several times.
Divide dough into thirds. Shape each third into a 14″ rope. Place ropes onto a greased baking sheet (do not stretch); pinch rope ends together at one end to seal. Braid ropes; pinch loose ends to seal. Lightly spray with vegetable cooking spray. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 30 to 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Beat egg white with the 1 tsp water; gently brush over bread. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.
Yield: 1 loaf
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