Process ingredients on dough cycle, according to manufacturer's directions.
At the end of the cycle, scrape the dough onto a board lightly coated with all-purpose flour. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. If making a 1 1/2-pound loaf, roll each piece to form a rope about 12 inches long. For a 2-pound loaf, roll each piece to form a rope about 14 inches long. Lay ropes parallel about 1 inch apart on a buttered 14- by 17-inch baking sheet. Pinch ropes together at one end, braid loosely, then pinch braid end together.
Cover loaf lightly with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until puffy, about 35 minutes. Remove plastic wrap.
Beat 1 large egg yolk to blend with 1 tablespoon water. Brush braid with egg mixture.
Bake braid in a 350° oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool on a rack at least 15 minutes before slicing. Serve hot, warm, or cool.
To make a 2-pound loaf, use 1/3 cup water, 3 large eggs, 2 large egg yolks, 3/4 cup (3/8 lb.) butter or margarine, 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 package active dry yeast.