A friend of mine is adopting a little girl from another country. She has done numerous fundraisers to defray the enormous cost of adding this treasure to their family. One way she is raising money is baking. So, once I got my Kitchen Aid, I asked to help (& in the process get a lesson). This bread is DE-LISH!
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/2 tsp yeast (or one yeast packet)
1 Tbl sugar
1 cup hot water
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbl butter
2 1/2 cup flour
1 3/4 - 2 cups MORE flour
In a drinking glass or bowl, stir together the warm water, yeast & sugar. Set aside for about 10 min to rise.
In your mixer, combine the hot water, salt, sugar and butter. Mix well. Once the yeast has risen, add 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 egg and the yeast mixture. Mix all together (using your mixing paddle arm.)
Add 1 3/4 cups more flour and mix until a ball forms. If the dough is still too soft, add more flour until the dough feels like squishy play-dough. Take the paddle arm off your mixer and put the hook arm on. Turn mixer on to the number "2" setting (if you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer) and let machine knead the dough for 7 minutes. OR knead the dough by hand for 5-6 minutes on a hard (and slightly floured) surface.
Spray a large clean bowl with cooking spray. Put the dough in the bowl and cover with a cloth to keep from drying out. Place the bowl in a warm place (like the oven with just the light turned on).
Let the dough rise for a couple of hours.
Punch the dough down and lit it rest for 10 minutes. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
Using a knife, divide the dough in half. Divide each half into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 14 inches long.
Pinch the 3 ropes together at the top, braid the ropes, and pinch the ropes together at the end.
Repeat with the other pieces of dough.
Place on sprayed cookie sheet, cover with a cloth, and let rise for about an hour.
Wisk together one egg and 1 T water. Gently brush wash over each braid.
Heat oven to 350. Bake for 14-18 minutes or just till they start turning golden brown. Let the bread sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting.
For extra yummy-ness, pour melted butter over top of the bread before cutting.