1 cup warm (100 to 115°F.) water
1/4 C. canola oil
1 T. honey
1 egg plus 1 yolk
1 T. sugar
1 package yeast
2 t. sea salt
3 1/2 C. bread flour
Egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 t. cold water)
In a mixing bowl, combine water, canola oil, honey, egg, egg yolk, sugar, yeast and salt, and mix on low speed with an electric mixer until combined. Add flour gradually until dough forms a ball (this may take slightly more or less than 3 1/2 cups of flour), and mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Raise speed to medium and mix for about 15 minutes (or knead dough in a large bowl for about 25 minutes) until dough is "baby soft" and pliable.
Place dough in a large buttered bowl and turn to coat surface. Cover and let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in volume (this can vary widely, depending on ambient temperature and humidity, but will probably take from 1 to 2 hours). To test, make an indentation in the dough with two fingers. The dough should not spring back, but should very slowly return to its former shape.
Place dough in a loaf pan or choose one of these braiding styles:
Divide dough into 2 equal halves and roll each piece into a strand 16 to 18 inches long. Wind the two strands around each other to form a braided loaf and place on a buttered baking sheet.
Braid 2 (traditional method):
Divide dough into 3 equal parts and roll each piece into a strand 14 to 16 inches long. Braid the three strands to form loaf and place on a buttered baking sheet.
Cover loaf with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise again in a warm, draft-free place until almost doubled in volume (this second rising will probably take less time than the first, 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours). Toward the end of the second rise, preheat oven to 325°F.
Brush top of the loaf with egg wash mixture. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and loaf has a hollow sound when lightly thumped on top.
Makes 8 servings.