The source Eat This…It’ll Make You Feel Better! by Dom DeLuise
The recipe When I picked this cookbook for Cookbook Challenge #3, I envisioned myself making lots of hearty, tomato-based sauces and soups to chase away the winter chills. So I’m a little surprised to realize that everything I’ve flagged so far is a dough recipe. This one really intrigued me, because I’d never heard of an Italian version of egg bread that wasn’t a sweet bread. This one is more like challah or brioche.
1 packet yeast*
1 ¼ cups (10 oz/250 ml) warm water
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salad oil**
4½ cups/540 g all-purpose/plain flour
1 egg yolk, beaten with one tsp water
3 Tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
The method Dissolve yeast in ¼ cup of the warm water and let stand for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining water, along with the sugar and oil.
Mix in 3 cups of flour and beat until smooth and elastic.*** Beat in eggs, one at a time, then gradually add the remaining 1½ cups flour. Turn dough out of bowl and knead, adding flour as necessary (if the dough becomes sticky) until the dough is shiny and very pliable (you should also be able to see small bubbles under the surface).
Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled (about 1 hour). Punch dough down, cover and let rise again (about 45 minutes). Punch down again, and divide into 3 equal portions. Roll each portion into a long sausage. On a prepared baking sheet, braid the three strands. Let rise again (about 45 minutes).**** Brush with egg-yolk mixture, and sprinkle with seeds, if desired.
Bake at 375F/190C for about 45 minutes. When done, the crust should be golden brown, and the loaf should sound hollow when tapped.
* Since they don’t sell yeast in packets here, I used 1 generous teaspoon.
** I used light olive oil.
*** My dough was not smooth and elastic at this stage.
**** I completely overlooked this step. This may be why my braid looks somewhat misshapen.
The verdict I still have no idea if this is authentically Italian, or if Dom’s mother adopted it, but he's right about one thing: it makes fantastic toast, topped with butter and jam.