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Christmas Braid

 Christmas Braid
This holiday bread is easy to make, although the braiding takes a bit of practice. I serve it for evening coffees, then use the rest toasted for breakfast. I also give it as gifts—it's delicious with cheese—and it always goes over big at Christmas bake sales. My husband's a dairy farmer. I work as a bank teller and stenographer. At home, I enjoy cooking and crafts.
30 ServingsPrep: 40 min. + rising Bake: 20 min.

Ingredients

  • 5 to 5-1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, divided
  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup finely chopped mixed candied fruit
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablepoon water

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine 3 cups flour and yeast. In a saucepan, heat
  • milk, sugar, butter and salt to 120°-130°; add to flour
  • mixture. Add egg. Beat on low speed with electric mixture for 30
  • seconds; increase speed to medium and continue beating for 3
  • minutes. Stir in raisins, candied fruit, nuts an enough remaining
  • flour to form a stiff dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and
  • knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Place in a
  • greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a
  • warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours. Divide dough in thirds,
  • then divide each into thirds again. Roll each piece into a 15-in.

2 of 2

Christmas Braid (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • rope. Place 3 ropes 1 in. apart on greased baking sheet. Begin
  • braiding loosely in the middle and work toward the ends. Pinch ends
  • together and tuck under. Repeat with remaining ropes. Cover and let
  • rise until doubled, about 30-40 minutes. Combine egg yolk and water;
  • brush over braids. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until
  • browned. Cool on wire racks. Yield: 3 breads.
Nutritional Facts: 1 serving (1 slice) equals 175 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 23 mg cholesterol, 121 mg sodium, 31 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.