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Easter Braid

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Easter Braid
2008-07-25 Side Dish
4 39

Traditional Easter bread, with raisins, that has been braided and topped with a light sugar glaze.

Ingredients:

1 pkg Active Dry Yeast or 1 Cake Compressed Yeast
¼ cup Water, warm or lukewarm
1 cup Milk, scalded
½ cup Sugar
2 tsp Salt
½ cup Softened Butter, margarine or shortening
4½ – 5 cups Sifted Enriched Flour
2 Eggs
2 tsp Grated Lemon Peel
¼ tsp Mace, optional
1 cup Seedless Raisins, dark or golden
Sugar Glaze

Directions:

In a bowl, soften dry yeast in warm water, compressed yeast in lukewarm water. Combine scalded milk, sugar, salt and butter. Cool to lukewarm. Stir in about 2 cups of the flour; add the eggs and mix well. Stir in the soften yeast. Add lemon peel, mace, raisins and the remaining flour to make a soft dough.

On a lightly floured surface, knead dough till smooth and elastic. Place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease dough. Cover and let rise in warm place till double in size (about 1-1/2 hours).

Punch dough down, let rise till almost double (about 1 hour). Divide dough, and round into 2 balls, one for each loaf. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.

For each loaf: Divide 1 ball in fourths. Shape 3 parts into strands 12-inches long, tapering ends. Line up strands 1-inch apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Braid loosely without stretching dough, beginning at middle and working toward either end. Seal ends well.

Divide remaining dough in thirds. Shape in strands 8-9 inches long, tapering ends. Braid loosely and place atop large braid, tucking ends of small braid into large one. Cover and let rise till double. Bake loaves in a 350 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes. While warm, spread with glaze. Makes 2 loaves.

Sugar Glaze: To 2 cups powdered sugar, add 1/4 cup hot water* and 1 teaspoon butter or margarine; mix till well blended.

*Thin with a teaspoon or so more water to drizzle over warm Easter Braid.