3 to 3 ½ cups bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
8 tablespoons butter, room temperature and very soft
1/2 cup water plus 2 tablespoon water
Poppy seeds, Sesame seeds and Kosher Salt for decoration
- In a large mixing bowl, measure out the flour. Set aside.
- Divide the sugar by removing one tablespoon, and put in a one-cup heatproof Pyrex measuring cup. Place remaining sugar in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- In the heatproof Pyrex measuring cup, add water to the sugar and warm the Pyrex cup until liquid is 105 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Add yeast and stir. Let sit until bubbles form. If bubbles do not form quickly, throw out and start again with a different source of yeast.
- Crack open two of the eggs into the bowl with sugar. In another small bowl, separate one egg white and hold for egg wash at the end. Add remaining egg yolks to the bowl with eggs and sugar. Whisk eggs and sugar briskly.
- Add softened butter to bowl with eggs and sugar and mix together until smooth and butter is integrated with eggs.
- Add creamy, bubbly yeast to egg/sugar/butter mixture and mix together.
- Incorporate flour to egg mixture, a half cup at a time, using dough whisk. When the dough is stiff, turn out onto floured board. Knead until dough is ready.
- Place dough in a very lightly oiled large bowl, turning the dough over to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees Fahrenheit) until doubled in size or for at a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Prepare a 12” regular camp Dutch oven by liberally coating the bottom and sides with Pam. Line the bottom of the oven with a circle of parchment paper cut to the diameter of the bottom of the oven. Spray the paper. Spray a clean and empty soup can (top and bottom removed) with Pam and dust with flour. Set in center of 12” prepared Dutch oven.
- Turn out dough onto lightly floured area. Gently deflate the dough, kneading it until smooth. Divide the dough into three equal parts, removing dough from one and adding to another until all are similar size. Gently roll out each of the balls to create long even rolls, about a 3/4 inch in diameter. Make sure each strip is the same length, approximately 25 inches long. Braid the dough and carefully place in prepared 12” Dutch oven, around the soup can. Tuck ends together.
- Prepare egg white wash by placing the egg whites into a small bowl and add two teaspoons of water. Whisk briskly until frothy.
- Using a pastry brush, apply plain egg wash generously to cover the top of the bread. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt, poppy seed, and sesame seeds.
- Let dough rise again for about 40 minutes in a warm place.
- Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Turn lid clockwise and oven counter clockwise 45 degrees. Bake for another 10 minutes; rotate lid and oven again, checking progress of baking. Repeat until bread begins to turn brown, then check more frequently until top is golden brown and instant read thermometer inserted into side of the loaf reads 185 degrees. Remove from heat and allow bread to cool.