Adapted from “the Baker’s Catalogue” by King Arthur Flour
3½ c. Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2/3 c. plus 1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. instant yeast
1¼ tsp. salt
unhulled sesame seeds
DIRECTIONS (either by hand or using a Kitchen-Aid mixer):
1. Combine the water, yeast, sugar and salt until dissolved.
2. Add the flour and knead for about 7 minutes. Cover the dough and let rise for 1½ hours.
3. Transfer the dough to a non-floured surface and divide it into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into an 18-inch rope. Braid the ropes, tucking the ends under. Brush the dough lightly with water and sprinkle heavily. Set aside on a baking sheet sprinkled with semolina or corn meal, and let rise another 1½ hours.
4. Bake at 425ºF for 25-30 minutes, preferably on a baking stone. Cool on a cooling rack.
5. I usually make double this recipe because it is not worth it to make just one loaf at a time.