500g strong white flour (Organic white No.4 is ideal)
300ml warm water
7g dried active baking yeast
2 tablespoons honey or 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon poppy or sesame seeds (optional)
In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs and salt. Add the flour in small amounts, beating after each addition. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky. Cover with a clean damp cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.
Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Knead for five minutes or so, adding a little flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide into thirds and roll into long, sausage shapes about 35cm. Place the 3 lenghs parallel and plait from middle out to the ends.
Grease a baking tray and place the finished plait on it. Cover with towel and let prove about one hour.
Preheat oven to 190 C
Brush a generous amount of egg wash or milk over the plait. Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds if wanted.
Bake in preheated oven for about 35 minutes. Bread should have a nice, hollow sound when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least one hour before cutting and enjoying...