Greek Easter Bread

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This sweet, spiced loaf is not only beautiful and delicious, but it is also large enough to feed your whole holiday crowd. Use leftovers to make French toast.
1 t whole allspice
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 c warm water (100° to 110°F)
Dash of salt
Dash of sugar
4 1/2 t (2 packages) dry yeast
4 3/4 C bread flour, divided
1/2 c sugar
3 T butter
3 large eggs
1 t salt
Cooking spray
1 T water
1 large egg yolk
1. Place allspice and cinnamon in a spice or coffee grinder, and process until finely ground. Set aside.
2. Combine water, dash of salt, dash of sugar, and yeast in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Let stand for 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour to yeast mixture, stirring until well combined. Let stand 20 minutes.
3. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in allspice mixture. Add yeast mixture to butter mixture; stir with a whisk until well combined. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt. Add 3 1/2 cups flour, about 1 cup at a time, stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).
4. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press 2 fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)
5. Divide dough into 3 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 14-inch-long rope. Place ropes lengthwise on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray (do not stretch); pinch ends together at one end to seal. Braid ropes; pinch loose ends to seal. Lightly coat dough with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
6. Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine 1 tablespoon water and egg yolk, stirring with a whisk. Brush half of yolk mixture over loaf. Let stand for 5 minutes. Repeat procedure with the remaining yolk mixture. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
Lorrie Hulston Corvin, Cooking Light, March 2005

John Brewer

Member since Sep 2007

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