When I need to feed a crowd, this large lovely loaf comes in handy. Golden raisins and dried apricots give it a nicely sweet flavor while walnuts add a little crunch.
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- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup chopped golden raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 4-1/4 to 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- Vanilla Glaze
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, shortening and salt; beat until smooth. Add the egg, raisin, apricots, walnuts, lemon peel and 1 cup flour; mix well. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/4 hours.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into five portions. Shape each portion into an 18-in. rope. Place three ropes on a greased baking sheet; braid. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Twist the two remaining ropes together. Pinch ends to seal. Place on top of braid; tuck ends under. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. Drizzle with Vanilla Glaze. Yield: 1 loaf (16 slices each).
Originally published as Apricot Braid in Best of Country Breads 2000, p93
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