adapted from Artisan Bread Every Day
**Begin the day before you wish to bake this dough.
2 1/4 cups lukewarm water (about 95°F)
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
10 egg yolks
5 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
7 1/2 cups bread flour
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 egg, for egg wash
2 tablespoon waters
2 tablespoons poppy seed and sesame seed combination for garnish
Whisk the water and yeast together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment add the egg yolks, oil, honey, and vanilla. Turn on low speed for a minute to break up the yolks. Add the flour and the salt and mix on low for 2-3 minutes or until dough comes together to form a shaggy mass. Remove the paddle attachment and replace it with the dough hook and then let the dough rest for at least 5 minutes before the next step.
Mix dough on low speed for 4-5 minutes with the dough hook attachment. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Dust with additional flour and then knead by hand for 1 or 2 minutes to form a soft dough that will be a bit tacky. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Remove the dough and portion into two loaves. Return one half to the refrigerator if you wish to bake it at another time. Portion one loaf into 4 equal pieces. Flatten and roll each piece into a long rope about a foot long. Repeat with remaining 3 pieces of dough. Place all four ropes next to each other and then connect all four at the top by pinching them together. Spread the opposite ends out a bit with the ends facing you. From the left, number the strands 1, 2, 3, 4. Place 4 or 2, 1 over 3, and 2 over 3. Repeat until you get to the ends and then pinch them together. Transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (I find it easier to do this right on the parchment paper.)
Make an egg wash with one whole egg and 2 tablespoons of water whisked together. Brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash. Let loaf rise, uncovered, for about an hour in a draft free spot. Brush with the egg wash again and sprinkle with the poppy seed mixture. Let rise an additional hour or until loaf is 1 1/2 original size.
Preheat over to 350°F and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate pan and bake another 20-30 minutes. Bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove and let cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes.