TIP: Serve slices of the bread with salted butter.
3/4 cup warm water (95° to 110°F)
One 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast
3 teaspoons sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs
1 large egg
1 teaspoon heavy cream
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
To make the dough: In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the warm water, the yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5minutes.
In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, remaining 2 teaspoons sugar, and the salt. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast mixture, the remaining 1/2 cup warm water, the oil, and eggs. Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes, until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides.
Spray a large bowl lightly with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch down the dough to release the air. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Roll each into a ball and then into a 15-inch-long rope.
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the 3 ropes parallel to one another on the pan. Starting at one end of the dough ropes, carefully braid them. Pinch the ends to seal and tuck the ends underneath the braid so that only the braid shows.
Lightly cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise until pillowy, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.
To prepare the topping: In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and cream. Gently brush it over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the sesame seeds.
Bake until golden brown, about 28 minutes. Let the loaf cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 40 minutes, before serving.
Store in a zip-top bag or airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.