A round, braided loaf studded with raisins for Rosh Hashanah.
2 1/2 cups warm water (water should be between 105° and 115°—no hotter or you will kill the yeast)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
1 tablespoon kosher salt
7 1/2-8 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup raisins or currants
1. In a large bowl mix sugar with 1/2 cup of the warm water, sprinkle yeast on top, stir lightly and let stand until foamy (5-10 minutes).
2. Mix in remaining water, honey, oil or butter, 4 eggs, salt and raisins.
3. Add the flour about one cup at a time, incorporating each addition. At this point it is easier to use your hands and begin kneading, add flour until the dough is no longer sticky. It should be smooth and elastic. Grease a clean bowl, place dough in bowl and cover with a clean cloth that is slightly damp. Let rise in a warm, draft free location, until it has doubled. This should take about 1 1/2 hours.
4. Remove dough from bowl and place on floured board. Punch down and divide in half. Knead each half for a few minutes adding flour if necessary until smooth and elastic. Next, divide each half into 3 pieces and roll each into long ropes 1 - 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Squeeze the ends of three ropes together and braid tightly. Form into a circle, squeeze ends together and tuck under, sealing tight.
5. Place rounds on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover with damp towel and let rise until doubled (about 20-40 minutes).
6. Preheat oven to 400°F. Separate remaining egg and whisk yolk with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush loaves with egg wash.
7. Bake for 15 minutes at 400°F then reduce temperature to 350°F and continue baking for 30-35 minutes. Bread should make a hollow thunk inch when tapped on bottom. Cool on wire racks.
For Rosh Hashanah the traditional yeast bread is shaped into a round and studded with raisins or currants. Makes 2 loaves.