2 packages dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1-1/2 cups lukewarm milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/4 cup soft butter
7-1/4 to 7-1/2 cups flour
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons cold water
Poppyseeds (optional)


Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, sugar, salt, 3 eggs, butter, and half the flour. Mix until smooth. Add remaining flour, enough so dough handles easily. Knead, and let rest for 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and let rise until doubled. Punch down. To shape loaves, divide dough into 1 small and two large portions. Divide each portion into thirds, and roll each third into a rope. Braid three ropes together, tucking ends under. Let braids rise on a greased cookie sheet, covered, until doubled. Before baking, brush with a mixture of 1 egg yolk and cold water, and sprinkle with poppyseeds if desired. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 35 to 45 minutes, until golden brown. Bread will sound hollow when tapped. Cool on racks.


Makes 1 small and 2 large braided loaves.

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