Crusty white braided bread. We call this a " sharing loaf" in my house and its considered a major offense to cut it with a knife..lol
- 2 pkg dry yeast ( not the quick rise)
- 2 c hot water ( 105 to 115 degrees)
- 1 T sugar
- 1 t. salt
- 1/4 c veg oil
- 2 c flour to start
- additional 3 1/2 to 5+ c flour to finish
Make sure kitchen is fairly warm, no cool drafts before you start. If yeast is stored in refrigerator, allow to come to room temp before using ( you can even microwave it for 15 or 20 seconds of need be )
In med- lg mixing bowl, add yeast, 2 c flour, sugar and salt, and blend. Slowly beat in oil and water at same time. Mix on low 30 seconds till all is combined, scraping constantly. Beat on med high for 2 minutes. Slowly add in more flour, a cup at a time. When beaters start to strain, keep blending flour in with wooden spoon, and, eventually, work it in by hand. When it isn’t wet anymore, knead on floured surface about 8 minutes or till dough bounces back when you poke it. Roll the ball out into a log and CUT ( not break ) into 6 pieces of equal size.
Roll pieces into balls and rest on floured surface, covered with a kitchen towel, for 20 minutes.
Punch dough down and roll each ball into a long strand, about 12 inches or more. Don’t be afraid to work in more flour if needed. Pinch 3 ropes together and form 2 braids. Set on OILED cookie sheet, oil tops of loaves and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for anywhere from 2 to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake loaves for 30 to 35 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped. Rub well with butter while they are hot out of oven.. remember to BREAK bread with your loved ones!
If you want to make your bread in an afternoon:
After dough is kneaded, put a couple tablespoons veg oil in bottom of bowl. Place ball of bread dough, messy side down into bowl then flip so “ neat” side of dough faces up. Cover bowl loosely with clean kitchen towel and place in a warm ( not hot ) draft free place. Let rise 40 to 50 mins or until dough doubles in size. Punch down and roll dough onto flour dusted surface. Work in flour, then divide dough in 3 equal parts. Roll each piece into a 12 to 18 inch rope. Pinch 3 ends together then braid ( left over middle, right over middle) Place on greased or oiled cookie sheet, brush top lightly with oil then cover loosely with cling wrap. Let rise in a warm place for additional 30 to 45 mins, then bake to above directions ( also remember do not “ pull” dough as it will break the gluten)