|Sugar||1 1⁄2 Tablespoon|
|Milk||6 Ounce, lukewarm|
|Salt||1 1⁄2 Teaspoon|
|Eggs||2 , beaten|
|Vegetable oil||1 Tablespoon|
|Glaze||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
|Egg yolk||1 , beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water|
|Poppy seeds||2 Tablespoon|
Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and mash in 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar with a fork.
Add 2 teaspoons of the warm milk and cream the milk and yeast together to form a smooth paste.
Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and set it aside in a warm, draught free place for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the yeast mixture has risen and is puffed up and frothy.
Sift the flour, remaining sugar and the salt into a large, warmed mixing bowl.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture.
Add the remaining milk, eggs and oil and, using a spatula, gradually draw the flour into the liquid.
Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Cover the bowl with a clean damp cloth.
Set the bowl in a warm, draught free place and leave it for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough has risen and has almost doubled in bulk.
Grease a baking sheet with the butter.
Turn the risen dough out of the bowl on to a lightly floured surface and knead it for about 5 to 8 minutes.
Divide the dough into three ropes, each about 12 inches long.
Fasten the ropes together at one end and loosely plait [braid] the three pieces together, fastening again at the end.
Place the loaf on the greased baking sheet and cover it again with a clean cloth.
Set it aside in a warm place for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the loaf has risen and expanded across the baking sheet.
Preheat the oven to hot 425°F (Gas Mark 7, 220°C).
Paint the top of the loaf with the egg yolk glaze and sprinkle the poppy seeds over the top.
Place the baking sheet in the centre of the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Then reduce the temperature to fairly hot 375°F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C) and bake for a further 25 to 30 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown.
After removing the bread from the oven, tip the loaf off the baking sheet and rap the underside with your knuckles.
If the bread sounds hollow, like a drum, it is cooked.
If it does not sound hollow, return it to the oven for a further 5 to 10 minutes.
Cool the loaf on a wire rack.