I decided to make bread, white bread, rich white bread. I also wanted something showy so I spent a little time on google and found this recipe. She's calling it happy bread but I'm calling it fancy.
I did find that the recipe didn't call for enough milk to get the dough to hold together. Perhaps that's partially due to bad conversions. Here's my version.
Fancy Pot Luck Bread
2 teaspoons dry instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
1/4 c warm milk
Cover and place in a warm area for 10 minutes, until it is nice and bubbly.
Remainder of the dough:
4 c (500g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 c warm milk (approximately)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice
Mix the flour and salt until well mixed. Make a well and add the remaining ingredients above, as well as the starter, holding back some of the milk to add as needed to get the desired texture. Mix in the mixer with the dough hook until it is a soft, somewhat sticky dough and you can stretch a piece thin enough to know gluten has formed, about 7 minutes. Turn it out on a lightly floured counter and knead a bit, just to make sure it's ready. It should be fairly soft and smooth but not sticky. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and proof until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
6 T (3/4 stick) butter, melted and cooled
Punch down the dough, then cut it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rectangle between 1/8" and 1/4" thick so each piece runs about 4" by 6". Coat the top of each piece with the melted butter then place one piece on top of another so there are 4 rectangles. Roll each of the double layers along the long side so they form a log.
Cut into pieces: first cut off the ends, approximately 1" pieces. Next cut the remaining logs with alternating diagonal cuts into 4 triangular pieces. Arrange the end pieces with the cut side down, in the center of a parchment covered cookie sheet. Use the triangular pieces to make a ring around the center pieces, alternating the wide and narrow ends. Place the greased ring of a spring form pan around the dough to guide it's upward rise. Cover and proof in a warm place until doubled in size, about 40-50 minutes.
Glaze and bake:
Preheat oven to 350 F
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons sesame or poppy seeds
Mix the egg yolk and milk. Brush the top with the glaze, sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Brush with melted butter as it comes out of the oven.
I made this twice, once with sesame seeds on the top only, the other with poppy seeds both on the top and in the rolled up logs. The poppy had a lot more flavor. I baked the sesame one in the ring and it turned out to be cake-shaped, I baked the poppy without the ring and it's more free form with more crispy bits. I liked it better that way but it isn't quite as showy.