1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
2 package active yeast
1 tablespoon raw honey
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
3 cage free large eggs at room temperature plus one egg to use to brush the bread before baking)
1/2 cup raw honey
4-1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil to grease a large bowl
- In the mixing bowl, (use a mixer with a dough hook attachment) add the warm water, dissolve the yeast and honey. Let stand for five to ten minutes until foamy
- Add the three eggs, the 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup butter, 4-1/2 cups bread flour, 2 teaspoon salt
- Attach the dough hook to the mixer, at low speed combining the ingredients – about 3 to 5 minutes
- Increase speed to medium and continue kneading the dough for 8 to 10 minutes – it will still be soft and slightly sticky
- Grease the large bowl, remove the dough from the mixer and form a round ball. Coat the dough with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and cover with a kitchen towel.
- Let the covered dough rise for 1-1/2 to 2 hours in a draft free warm location.
- Line a full size sheet pan with parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with flour.
- Once the dough has risen, punch it down lightly with your knuckles and turn out on a lightly flowered baking mat.
- Divide the dough into four equal parts. Divide each part into four more equal parts. You should have 16 parts total.
- For each of the 16 dough parts divide them, one at a time into three smaller parts.
- Form a braid with the three smaller parts – first, using the palm of your hand place each part on the baking mat, elongate each part working from the middle outwards making a three to four inch log. Place the three logs horizontally towards you side by side. Cross the left strand over the middle and then cross the right strand in between and continue the braiding until the dough is fully braided. Place on the sheet pan and continue to braid the remaining dough
- Cover the pan with a dry towel and set aside in a warm location for about 45 minutes. The dough should be double the size
- Preheat the over to 350 degrees
- Crack the remaining egg in a bowl and whisk it lightly with a fork.
- With a pastry brush, brush each bread with the egg
- Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 25 minutes. If you tap the bread it should sound hollow. It’s done.
- Remove and cool on a rack.
Note: With this dough I also make rolls for hamburgers you can also make one super large braid and bake it for 35 minutes; slice and use to make French toast. My favorite way to eat this bread, no matter if it’s mini, large or rolls is to dip it in the yoke of a sunny-side egg (or two) . Yum, so good.