(by Paula Pendleton Franklin)
(adapted from Bon Appetit)
1⁄2 c. sugar 2 envelopes dry yeast (or 4 1⁄2 t.) 1 T. salt 1 3⁄4 c. warm water (105 – 115 F.) 4 eggs at room temperature 1⁄2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled 6 – 7 c. unbleached bread flour
2 T. milk or cream
poppy seeds or sesame seeds, optional
Combine sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a heavy-duty standing or handheld mixer.
Whisk in water, eggs, and butter.
Add 3 cups flour and mix with the dough hook until smooth, about 3 minutes.
(Do not use a food processor. If you don’t have a heavy-duty mixer, use those muscles and a wooden spoon.)
Add enough remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to form soft dough.
Knead on a floured surface until dough is satiny, about 10 minutes, kneading in more flour if sticky.
Grease a large bowl and add dough, turning to coat entire surface.