1 cup water, 110-115 F (use a yeast thermometer)
1/2 cup water, boiling
2 t. sugar
large pinch saffron threads
2 T. instant dry yeast
6 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup honey
2/3 cup canola oil
4 large eggs, plus 1 extra yolk for eggwash
2 t. salt
poppy seeds, optional
Crush saffron with the back of a spoon and add to 1/2 cup hot water. Set aside for 5-10 minutes until the saffron is dissolved. Cool slightly. Pour the remaining 1 cup water (that is 110F-115F) into a small bowl. Add 2 t. sugar and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside for 5 minutes to proof.
In a medium bowl, mix saffron water, honey, oil, and eggs.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add flour and salt. Once the yeast has proofed (it will become foamy), add it immediately to the flour, followed by the wet ingredients, and mix on medium low speed until just combined.
Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium low until smooth, scraping the bowl from time to time. Once the dough has come together nicely, place on a well floured surface and knead by hand, adding a bit of flour if necessary until no longer sticky.
Place the dough into a large oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. Or if baking the same day, set aside at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Next day remove from the refrigerator. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Working with one mound at a time, divide it into 3 equal balls. Divide each ball in half for a total of 6 balls.
Using your hands, roll each ball into a long 12″ log on a lightly floured board. Place each log next to one another, pinch the tops together and braid. Check out the YouTube video that demonstrates how to do a 6 strand braid. I used this one: