Makes 1 loaf


1/2 to 3/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°F)
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons cold water
Poppy or sesame seeds (optional)


  1. Combine 1/4 cup of the warm water, yeast and sugar. Stir to dissolve yeast and let stand until bubbly, about 5 minutes.
  2. Fit processor with steel blade. Measure flour, butter and salt into work bowl. Process until mixed, about 10 seconds. Add yeast mixture and 1 egg; process until blended, about 10 seconds.
  3. Turn on processor and very slowly drizzle just enough remaining warm water through feed tube so dough forms a ball that cleans the sides of the bowl. Process until ball turns around bowl about 25 times. Turn off processor and let dough stand 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Turn on processor and gradually drizzle in enough remaining warm water to make dough soft, smooth and satiny but not sticky. Process until dough turns around bowl about 15 times.
  5. Turn dough onto lightly greased surface. Shape into ball and place in lightly greased bowl, turning to grease all sides. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand in warm place (85°F) until doubled, about 1 hour.
  6. Punch down dough. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Shape each part into a strand about 24 inches long. Braid the strands loosely together; tuck ends under and pinch to seal. Place on greased cookie sheet. Brush braid with oil and let stand in warm place until almost doubled, about 40 minutes.
  7. Heat oven to 375°F. Beat egg yolk and cold water together with a fork. Brush mixture over braid. Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds, if desired. Bake until evenly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove immediately from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.

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