Spring Holiday Bread

 This is a nice spring loaf for Easter or other holidays from "Fleischmann's Best-ever Breads."  I shared a loaf with Myrna’s family – and made our loaf into French toast – delicious!  I had some coarse sugar that I use for Dutch Puff Pillows – so I used that on top.  I think this would also be good with a thin powdered sugar glaze.  The recipe suggests that you can also replace the lemon peel and nutmeg with 2 tsp. ground cardamom, and/or knead in 2 cups chopped toasted nuts or chopped dried or candied fruit or a combination for a nice variation.    There are 2 choices of braiding directions; you can also braid each loaf into a round for another attractive variation.  This is a recipe you can make your own.                 
                           Spring Holiday Braid
  6 1/2   Cups  Flour, All-purpose
     1/2   Cup  Sugar
  4          Teaspoons  Instant Yeast
  1          Tablespoon  Grated Lemon Peel
  1 1/2   Teaspoons  Salt
     1/2   Teaspoon  Nutmeg
     3/4   Cup  Whole Milk
     1/2   Cup  Water
     1/3   Cup  Butter -- softened
  3          Large  Eggs
  1          Large  Egg White -- lightly beaten
In mixer bowl, combine 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, yeast, lemon peel, butter, salt and nutmeg.
Heat milk and water until very warm (120° to 130°); using paddle attachment, stir into dry ingredients.  Stir in 3 eggs and enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Change to dough hook and knead 6 minutes.  Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
To shape:
  1. Divide dough in half; set aside half.  Divide 1 half into 4 equal pieces; roll 3 pieces into 14" ropes.  Place on greased baking sheet and braid.  Pinch ends firmly to seal.
  2. Divide remaining dough into 3 equal pieces; roll each piece into a 9" rope.  Braid.  Place the small braid on the large braid; pinch ends to seal and to secure to the large braid.
  3. Repeat with remaining dough to make 2 finished braids.
  4. Or divide into 6 equal pieces; braid 3 together for each loaf.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 25-30 minutes.
Brush braids with egg white.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes or until done; if needed, cover with foil during last 10 minutes.
Remove from pan; let cool on wire racks.
2012 Cost:  $2.35 or $1.18 per loaf
  "2 Coffeecakes"

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