This recipe uses farmer's cheese, a semi-soft cheese with a mild flavor that can be tasted in the bread. The braided loaves feature a chewy crust and richly soft center.
Yield: 2 braided loaves
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes
- 1 cup milk
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 cup warm water (100 degrees F)
- 2 packages active dry yeast (1/2 ounce)
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 cup farmer’s cheese, shredded
- 5 cups bread flour, approximately
- In small saucepan, warm milk and butter until butter is melted. Set aside until warm (100 degrees F). In small bowl add water. Stir in yeast until dissolved. In large bowl, add warm milk and butter. Add yeast water. Stir. Stir in sugar, salt, and 2 cups of flour. When batter is smooth, mix in shredded farmer’s cheese. Continue to mix in flour until a stiff dough is formed. Turn dough out onto floured board and begin to knead in the remaining flour until the dough is firm and smooth, not sticky.
- Put dough in greased bowl. Turn over so that dough top is also greased. Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour or until double in size. Punch down dough and knead for about 1 minute. Divide dough in half and set one half back in bowl.
- To make a braided loaf, divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Work each piece with your hands to form a long rope, about 15 inches in length. Pinch ends of the 3 dough ropes together and tightly braid the dough. Pinch ends together again. Repeat for second loaf.
- Preheat oven 375 degrees F. Grease and sprinkle yellow cornmeal on two baking sheets. Place each loaf on a baking sheet, cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place for about 30 minutes or until double in size. Brush egg white onto each loaf. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 40 minutes or when loaf sounds hollow when you tap on the bread top. Remove from heat and let cool on rack.