This bread got rave reviews from my family. It looks really pretty with the seeds and shaping, but my family loved the crisp crust the best. It was our second Thanksgiving bread.
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1 cup warm water
3 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cornmeal
1 tsp. water
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1 tsp. sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
Dissolve yeast in water in large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Add 2 3/4 cups flour, oil and salt and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn onto floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes) adding flour 1 Tbsp. at a time as needed to keep dough from sticking to hands.
Place dough in large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat. Cover and let rest in warm place 45 minutes or until doubled. Punch down dough. Cover and let rest 5 minutes. Shape dough into 21-inch rope, placing on baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. (I would recommend lining sheet with parchment paper to prevent sticking.) Starting on one end, make hard diagonal cuts on one side of the loaf every two inches, cutting three-fourths of the way through dough to the other side. Carefully flip every other section to the opposite side of the loaf to form a leaflike shape. (Loaf should resemble a branch with leaves.)
Combine 1 tsp. water and egg white with a whisk. Combine all seeds in small dish. Brush dough evenly with egg white mixture and then sprinkle with seeds. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Bake 20 minutes or until browned on bottom and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan and cook on wire rack. Serves 14.