2 (¼ ounce) packages rapid rise Yeast
½ cup warm water (100°-110°F)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 cups 2% milk, scalded
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ cup shortening
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup light agave nectar
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
7 – 7 ½ cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour, divided
4 large eggs
1 large egg plus 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
- In mixer bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water with sugar; let stand for 10 minutes.
- Scald milk; add butter, shortening, salt, and agave nectar. Cool to lukewarm (110ºF). Stir into yeast mixture.
- Beat in 2 cups bread flour, 3 cups white whole wheat flour, and 4 eggs; mix 2 minutes on medium speed with paddle attachment.
- Using dough hook, gradually add enough of the remaining white whole wheat flour to make soft dough. Knead dough 8 to 10 minutes by hand or with dough hook until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning to grease surface of the dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double. (1 to 1 1/2 hours).
- Punch dough down. Divide dough into nine equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a 16 to 17-inch rope. Place three ropes parallel to each other pinching them at the top and loosely braid, pinching the ends and turning and sealing ends under loaf. Place on greased or paper-lined baking sheets. Repeat with remaining ropes. (Makes 3 braided loaves)
- Cover; let rise in warm place until double. Whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon water; carefully brush on loaves making sure to cover the entire surface.
- Bake in preheated 350ºF oven 30 to 35 minutes, covering loosely with foil the last 10 to 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning. KWC Test Kitchen Tip: To prevent the bottom crust from overbrowning: After 20 minutes, place an additional baking sheet under the baking sheet with braid and continue baking.
Makes 3 large loaves, 16 servings each.
TEST KITCHEN NOTE
This recipe can be used for dinner rolls, cinnamon bread, shaped breads like Santa Claus and alligators.
One slice provides approximately 157 calories; 4 g protein; 23 g carbohydrate; 3 g dietary fiber; 5 g fat (2 g saturated); 26 mg cholesterol; 14 mcg folate; 1 mg iron and 160 mg sodium.