-1 package dry yeast (2 ¼ tsp)
-1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
-3 Tbsp honey
-Dash of saffron threads, crushed
-3 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
-1 tsp salt
-1 large egg
-3 cups bread flour, divided
-1 tsp cornmeal
-1 tsp water
-1 large egg yolk lightly beaten
-1/4 tsp poppy seeds
• Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water in a large bowl; stir in honey and saffron threads. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add melted butter, 1 tsp salt, and egg; stir well with a whisk.
• Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 2 ¾ cups flour to yeast mixture, and stir until a soft dough forms. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.
• Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 Tbsp at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will be very soft).
• Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 40 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough).
• Punch dough down. Shape dough into a ball; return to bowl. Cover and let rise an additional 40 minutes or until doubled in size. Punch dough down; cover and let rest 15 minutes.
• Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), on a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 25-inch rope with slightly tapered ends. Place ropes lengthwise on a large baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal; pinch ends together at untampered ends to seal. Braid ropes; pinch loose ends to seal. Cover and let rise 20 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
• Preheat oven to 375°F
• Combine 1 tsp water and large egg yolk, stirring with a fork until blended. Uncover loaf, and gently brush with egg yolk mixture. Sprinkle evenly with ¼ tsp poppy seeds. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.
Per serving (1 slice): Calories 157, Fat 4.1 g (Saturated 2.1 g), Cholesterol 42 mg, Sodium 202 mg, Carbohydrate 26.9 g, Fiber 0.9 g, Protein 5 g
Yield: 1 loaf, 12 servings
Source: Dean Health Holiday Holdout