2 cups Water
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
2 heaping Tablespoons active dry yeast
3 eggs (Save egg white from one egg for brushing on the top of the bread dough)
7 1/2 cups UNBLEACHED flour
Optional sesame seeds or Kosher salt for top of the loaf
Heat water, butter, and sugar in the microwave for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes or until butter just begins to soften, but not completely melted.
Put 1 cup of flour into a mixer (using the bread hook attachment) and add liquid and eggs. Mix until lightly blended. Add the yeast. Mix well until yeast dissolves. This may take 3-5 minutes.
Add remaining flour until the dough pulls cleanly from the bowl. Place the dough on a heavily floured surface and separate into 5 equal sections. Roll each one into a long log shape. Then braid the five logs into one weaved loaf. Lightly brush the loaf with egg whites, and top with either sesame seeds or Kosher salt.
Loosely cover with a lightly floured dish cloth and place in a warm location (not outside). Let rise for about 45 minutes. If it is a cold day you may wish to preheat the oven to 300 degrees while making the dough, then shut the oven off, open the door, and leave the pan on the open door to rise.
Place the dough in the oven and turn the oven to 325-350. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly brown.
Variation 1: Separate the dough into two halves and bake in loaf pans.
Variation 2: Use the dough to make cinnamon rolls. (Detailed recipe coming soon).