For the sponge:

For the dough:


For the sponge:

In a  bowl measure 300 g  flour and add the yeast, salt, sugar and dry milk.

Stir in the water to make a batter.

Cover with plastic wrap and put aside at room temperaure to bubble and rise more than twice its original volume, about 2 hours.

For the dough:

Uncover the sponge and stir in the butter. Add the eggs one at a time.

Pour in the molasses, blend, and add the pepper and spices. Add the walnuts.

When all the ingredients have been added, stir in the rest of the flour.

Knead  for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Transfer the dough from the mixing bowl to a lightly oiled bowl.

Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature to double in bulk, about 2 hours.

Divide the dough in half. For braided loaves divide each ball in 3 parts. Preshape lightly into round and let rest for 10 minutes.

Shape the balls into little logs. Start by rolling one piece of dough on the counter into as long rope, 35 cm.

Keep the rest covered while working with one-at-a-time.

Taper both ends of each dough rope down so that they are narrower than the rest of the dough rope.

Braid from the middle to one end, pinch to close and then turn the braid around and braid the other end.

Place on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Repeat for the second piece.

Cover the loaves and leave at room temperature until they are puffy and have doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 175°C.

For a shiny bread brush with the eggwash.

Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes. The loaves should turn dark brown.

Remove the breads from the oven and let cool on a rack.