"Knead" a gift better that store-bought? This is the all-time favorite bread of everyone I know-and I bake all kinds. I garnish my buttery wreaths with festive fabric bows.
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm milk plus 2 tablespoons warm milk (110° to 115°)
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add the butter, sugar, egg, salt and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. 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 hour.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into thirds. Shape each portion into a 22-in. braid; pinch ends together to form a ring. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 1 loaf.
Originally published as Braided Sesame Wreath in Country Woman Christmas Annual 2003, p23
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