|2% low fat milk||1⁄4 Cup (4 tbs) (Lukewarm, 105° To 115°F)|
|Active dry yeast||1⁄4 Ounce (1 Packet)|
|Saffron||1 Pinch (Optional)|
|Lukewarm water||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)|
|Unsalted butter/Margarine||3 Tablespoon, melted|
|All purpose flour||3 Cup (48 tbs)|
|Egg white||1 Large|
|Cold water||1 Tablespoon|
|Poppy seeds||2 Tablespoon|
1. Into a large bowl, pour the milk, then stir in the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar and let stand for 10 minutes or until foamy. Dissolve the saffron in the lukewarm water.
2. In a medium-size bowl, with an electric mixer set on high, beat the eggs until light yellow. Add the saffron water, butter, the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar, and the salt, beating 1 minute longer, then stir into the milk mixture. Using a wooden spoon, beat in the flour, 1 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms.
3. Knead for 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to a large buttered bowl, turning to coat with the butter. Cover loosely and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
4. Butter a 15 1/2 x 14-inch baking sheet. Punch down the dough and divide into 3 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece into a 12- x 1-inch rope. Place the 3 ropes side-by-side on the baking sheet. Pinch the top ends together, braid, then tuck the ends under.
5. In a cup, whisk the egg white with the cold water and brush over the braid. Sprinkle with the poppy seeds. Cover and let rise for 1 hour more or until doubled in size.
6. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. (If the bread seems to be browning too quickly, lay a piece of foil loosely over the top.) Transfer to a rack to cool.