Egg bread is rich and delicious because of the eggs yolks used in the batter. The eggs also give this bread a dark and crispy golden crust. This egg bread recipe is not quite as rich as similar breads like challah or brioche but it does have a glazed crust and soft pillowy inside much like challah. This recipe makes a loaf, 2 baguettes or a dozen rolls.
Tip: To easily smooth the tops of the loaves, use the back of a greased spoon.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl add the flour, milk and salt and mix them together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lukewarm water and butter (at room temperature). Add this mixture to the bowl of flour mixture, stirring (or beating on medium speed) until ingredients are blended. You may add more water (1 tablespoon or more) if mixture appears too dry. Continue mixing batter on medium high for another 5 minutes.
To make a loaf: Grease a 9x4 inch pan and coat lightly with cornmeal. Fill the pan with the dough and smooth the top. Loosely cover the pan with saran wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes or until the level of the dough is just below the pan's top. Brush the top of the loaf with a mixture of egg whites and water. This egg wash will make the crust shiny and crispy. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until top of bread is golden brown, on the oven's center rack. Take the baked bread out of the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.
To make 2 baguettes: Line a double baguette pan with two layers of aluminum foil. Grease the foil lightly with cooking oil and coat it with a layer of cornmeal. Divide the dough between the two baguette pans and smooth the tops of each. Cover the pan loosely with saran wrap and allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes. In a preheated oven (375 degrees F), bake the bread for 25 minutes then carefully remove the bread from their pans and put them back into the oven again for 5 minutes, directly on the middle rack. After they have finished baking, remove the loaves and allow to cool.
To make dinner rolls: Use a greased muffin tin, lightly coated in cornmeal, and fill each cup only halfway with dough. Cover the tin with saran wrap and allow the dough to rise for about 30 minutes. The dough should rise to above the top of the muffin tin. Bake the rolls for 25 minutes at 375 degrees F.
If you want to make a braided loaf: To make shaping the dough ropes easier, place the unshaped dough in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes. This will firm up the dough and make braiding the ropes easier.