Bread is pretty time intensive stuff. I feel like I've been making this bread for days. That's a slight over-dramatization, but not by much... Let me walk you through the process.
Saturday evening I made the dough. I mixed everything by hand because I still haven't bought a new mixer. Thankfully, few muscles were required to mix everything up.
After I'd mixed everything, I pulled it out of the bowl and began kneading it. I'm jealous of my grandma's wooden work surface and I'll have to get one of those someday. In the meantime, the counter did alright. My dough was very sticky and I had to use at least 1/4 cup if not 1/2 cup extra flour, plus some extra oil. It was a sticky mess for a while, but things worked out in the end.
I tossed my kneaded dough into a bowl and left it an hour. It rose nicely.
I covered the bowl with cling wrap and put it in the fridge overnight. When I opened the door this morning, it had a hilarious bubble in the middle.
Who knows whether or not starting things on Saturday and finishing them on Sunday had an adverse effect. Regardless, the show went on. I punched down the dough and turned it onto the counter and left it to rise slightly.
For the careless braider, such as myself, the next step was very simple and fun. First the big braid...
Then the little braid on top...
Then I brushed the whole unbaked loaf with the reserved egg yolk and sprinkled it with poppy seeds.
Into the oven it went! And out it came, a pretty loaf if I do say so myself.
I had a piece while the loaf while it was still slightly warm, and later a second slice toasted and buttered with jam. It's a nice, soft white bread with a thin crust. Pretty tasty! I'd categorize this week's baking more as a good experience than as a ridiculously delicious treat, but I'm definitely happy that I tried it out.
I fly to England in two days, and I'm not sure whether or not I'll do any blogging during the weeks that I'm there. If not, Happy Holidays!