During the holidays, I sometimes make a couple of these golden loaves a day to give as gifts. Everyone in our family loves them any time of year. The recipe originated with one for Jewish challah, which I began making over a decade ago. —Marcia Vermaire Fruitport, Michigan
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the butter, sugar, salt, eggs and 3 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. 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 four pieces. Shape each piece into an 18-in. rope. Place ropes parallel to each other on a greased baking sheet.
- Beginning from the right side, braid dough by placing the first rope over the second rope, under the third and over the fourth. Repeat three or four times, beginning each time from the right side. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under.
- Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Beat egg yolk and water; brush over braid. 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 Celebration Braid in Taste of Home February/March 2007, p41
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