Dissolve yeast in warm water and 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Combine 2 tablespoons sugar, fat, salt, and boiling water
Cool to lukewarm and add yeast mixture
Stir in flour until dough ready to knead. Do not worry if you use less flour.
Knead 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, turning once. Let rise until doubled. Punch down and let rest 15 minutes. Divide dough in half.
On floured surface, roll each half to a 12 x 15 rectangle. Roll up, starting at 15 inch edge. Place loaves on greased cookie sheets and make 4 or 5 slashes diagonally across tops. Let rise until double.
Mix and brush on 1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons milk, if desired.
Sprinkle on poppy or sesame seeds.
Bake at 400° degrees for 20 minutes