Every time the cold weather comes around, I begin to think of soup and the holidays.
One item that goes beautifully with both is fresh-baked egg bread. With egg bread you can do it all: from dunking it in sweet butternut squash soup to making a gorgeous, glistening loaf that’s a hit at any holiday meals you’re planning. It can even be the basis of a delicious bread pudding.
I’ve been making egg bread for years: my transplanted New Yorker family loves it because they remember it as the Jewish favorite Challah bread, and my teenage daughter will eat it for breakfast on school days (normally she won’t willingly eat anything for breakfast.) So it’s popular in the Pierce household. Why not try some yourself?
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
6 egg yolks
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Stir in the yolks, 3 eggs, oil, sugar, and salt. Add about 3-1/2 cups of flour to make a sticky dough.
2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead with remaining flour until smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn to oil the entire surface of the dough. Cover with a damp cloth. Place in a warm place until double in size, about 1-1/2 hours.
3. Punch down the dough, and divide into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 12 inches long. Braid the three strands together, and seal the ends. Place the bread on a greased cookie sheet. Beat the remaining 1 egg with a pinch of salt; brush onto bread. Let the bread rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Brush the bread with eggwash again.
5. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.