8 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
1 cup granulated sugar
2 (1/4 oz./7g packages) dry yeast
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. (1/2 stick/2 oz./56g) butter, melted and cooled slightly
3/4 - 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar (or brown sugar)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 egg, beaten, or milk (for brushing tops of loaves)
Optional Filling Ingredients:
Nuts, coarsely chopped
Dried fruit, coarsely chopped
Confectioners' Sugar Glaze (see recipe below)
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup milk.
Mix remaining milk, sugar, egg, salt, the cooled melted 4 tbsp. butter and small amount of flour; beat until smooth. Add yeast and remaining flour; beat until smooth and firm.
Sprinkle dough with a small amount of flour, cover with a clean cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (2 hours).
Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth.
Take 1/2 of dough, divide into three parts. Roll each part into a long rectangle (about 8-inch wide).
Spread melted butter over each rectangle to cover, then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar* (See Tip).
Raisins, nuts or dried fruits can be included with the cinammon/sugar mixture at this point, if desired.
Roll each rectangle of dough into a long rope (jelly roll style). Braid ropes together and seal ends. Place braid on a long cookie sheet, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk.
Repeat above procedure with other half of dough (for the second loaf).
Brush tops with egg wash or milk and bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F (190 C) for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Loaves can be frosted with a confectioners' sugar glaze or frosting and sprinkled with sliced almonds when completely cool.
Confectioners' Sugar Glaze (optional)
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons milk
Stir together confectioners' sugar and milk with a fork until smooth. Drizzle over completely cooled loaves.
If desired, candied fruits can be added to filling during the Christmas holiday.
Makes 2 braided loaves.
Date: November 10, 2002