2 packages dry yeast
2/3 Cup Warm Water (110 degrees)
5 Egg Yolks – Lightly Beaten
3 Whole Eggs – Lightly Beaten
7 Tablespoons Corn Oil
1 Cup Sugar
2 Teaspoons Salt
4 ½ Cups Flour
1 Cup Raisins (Optional)
1 Egg Yolk – Beaten
Poppy Seeds (optional)
1. In cup or small bowl dissolve Yeast in the warm water with approx 1 tablespoon of sugar. After just a few minutes the yeast should begin to "bloom". It will become foamy and it will give off a sweet smell. If your yeast is not fresh this will not happen – do not go any further – start over with fresh yeast.
2. In a large bowl mix Egg Yolks, Eggs, Oil, remaining Sugar, Salt and Yeast mixture.
3. Add enough flour to form stiff but sticky dough (you can do this in a stand mixer – using the dough hook attachment).
4. Then turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (adding more flour if needed) – about 6 minutes – work in raisins as kneading.
5. Form a ball and place in a greased bowl and turn dough so all sides are greased. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and place in warm area to double in bulk – about two hours.
6. Punch down and knead briefly.
7. Roll dough into a 24” long rope. Create a spiral round loaf. (Sometimes I divide the dough into three parts, then I make three smaller ropes and braid them – then I form a circle from with the braid).
8. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment.
9. Brush loaf with beaten egg yolk, sprinkle top with poppy seeds (if desired), and allow too rise until dough doubles in size – about 45 minutes.
10. Bake until golden brown in a pre-heated 375 degree oven – 30-35 minutes.