Braided Whole Wheat Egg Bread

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From The Vegetarian Epicure Book 2, pg 27.
Makes 2 Large Braided loaves

Preparation time: 2 1/2 hours
Cooking time: 45 to 50 minutes

Difficulty: Medium - experience needed
Serves: 2 loaves


2 pkg (2 Tbl) dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water
2 cups milk
3 Tbl butter
2 Tbl sugar
7 to 7 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbl salt
1 whole egg
4 egg yolks
1 tsp cream
sesame seeds


Disslove the yeast in the warm water. Scald the milk and stir the butter and sugar into it.
Pour the hot milk mixture into a large mixing bowl, and when lukewarm, stir in the yeast.
Mix together the flour and the salt. Add about 2 cups of flour to the milk and beat with an electric beater until the mixture is smooth.
Beat the egg and the yolks together lightly. Reserve about 2 Tbl of the beaten egg mixure and add the rest to the batter. Beat again until smooth.
Gradually stir in enough flour to make a stiff dough. When the dough is too stiff to be stirred with a spoon, turn it out onto a well-floured board and knead about 10 to 15 minutes, adding more flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Form the dough into a ball and put it in a large, buttered bowl, turning it over once so that it is coated on all sides. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave it in a warm, draft free place for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and cut it into 2 pieces. Pat each piece into a smooth oblong, about 14 inches long and 6 inches wide. Slice the oblongs into 3 even strips, leaving them connected at one end.
Starting at the connected end, form a think braid, tucking under the last bit and pinching it to the others.
Place the braids in 2 buttered medium-sized loaf pans, cover them with a towel, and let rise for about 1/2 hour, or until half again as large.
Stir about 1 teaspoon of cream into the reserved egg and brush the tops of the loaves with it. Sprinkle the loaves with sesame seeds and bake them in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes.

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