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This Christmas Bread recipe has been in my mother Angie's family for generations, passed down from my Great-great-grandma, to my Great-grandma Klocke, to my Grandma Polodna, to my mom Angie, to me.  It will definately be passed on to my kids Ryan, Brent, and Emily, as it is requested every Christmas and New Years !!  This rich, slightly sweet yeast bread is braided and can be made with or without raisins and/or candied cherries (my family loves both).
2 pkgs quick-rise yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 tsp sugar
1 cup milk
1 1/4 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 pkg plumped golden raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 eggs, beaten
Red/green candied cherries
2 more cups flour
1. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water in which 2 tsp sugar has been added.  Set aside until bubbly.  Scald 1 cup milk; pour into large mixing bowl.  Add butter, cut into small pieces, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 tsp salt.  Stir with wooden spoon until butter is melted, then add 2-1/2 cups flour; stir until combined.  Add yeast mixture; beat well with wooden spoon, then add plumped raisins, almonds, candied cherries, and eggs, mixing until combined.  Add about 2 more cups of flour to make a soft dough, so that it can be easily handled.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead well, working in additional flour until dough is elastic, and no longer sticky.  Place back in mixing bowl and let raise, covered with cloth, until double in size (about 1 hour).
2. Punch down, remove dough from bowl, and divide dough first in half, then each half into 5 pieces,  Roll 5 pieces into individual ropes about 12 inches long; braid 3 ropes together, and twist the other 2 ropes together and place on top of the braided ropes.  Place into bread pan sprayed with Pam.  Repeat with other 5 pieces and place into a second bread pan sprayed with Pam.  Let raise again for another 1/2-3/4 hour.
3. While dough is rising a second time, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place both bread pans into preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Let cool on wire rack in pans for 15 minutes; run knife along sides of pan and remove bread from pans and allow to cool completely on wire racks.

Makes:  2 loaves

May wrap loaves in foil and freeze until ready to use - freezes very well.  To serve, cut slices and toast.  Spread with butter while still warm - enjoy.

Meal   SnackDish   Bread
Cooking Method   BakedPrep Time   2 hours
Cooking Time   45 minutes

Carolyn Beck

Member since Jun 2008

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