Lavender Egg Bread
- 6 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup honey
- 1½ tablespoons dried lavender
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (1 packet + ½ teaspoon)
- 3 large eggs
- 3½ to 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.
- Add the milk, honey, and lavender and stir until the honey is dissolved.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to just above room temperature, about 110°F.
- Transfer the milk mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment and sprinkle the yeast over the mixture.
- Add 2 of the eggs, 3½ cups of flour and the salt.
- Beat on medium speed until it forms a soft and smooth dough, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining flour if you find the dough is too sticky.
- Lightly grease a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, cover and allow to rest in a warm place for 1½ to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Transfer dough to a lightly greased work surface and divide dough into three equal pieces.
- Gently roll and stretch each piece into a 15-inch rope. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Continue rolling each rope until it is about 18-inches long.
- Lay the three ropes parallel to one another and pinch the three ropes together at the top. Lightly and gently life each rope to braid the loaf. Repeat until the braid is complete and pinch the ends of the rope together.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease. Carefully lift the braid and place on the prepared pan.
- Cover the loaf with lightly greased plastic wrap and allow to rise again for 1 hour.
- Towards the end of the rising time, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375°F.
- Lightly brush loaf with beaten egg.
- Place the loaf and baking sheet on another baking sheet to insulate the bottom of the loaf and keep it from browning too quickly.
- Bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and lightly cover with foil. Return to the oven and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes until a deep golden brown and the loaf sounds a bit hallow when it tapped.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.