The first time I made this braided bread for Christmas, everyone loved it. In fact, when my sister-in-law came for a visit the following July, she asked me to teach her to make it. —Cheri Neustifter of Sturtevant, Wisconsin
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- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1-3/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons almond extract
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 5-3/4 to 6-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 5 teaspoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons sliced almonds
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the eggs, sugar, extract, oil, salt and 4 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a large bowl coated with cooking spray; turn once to coat top. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down; turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into thirds; shape each portion into a 20-in. rope. Place ropes on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray; braid. Pinch ends together, forming a round loaf. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
- Beat egg and water; brush over loaf. Sprinkle with sugar and almonds. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack.
- Yield: 1 loaf (24 slices).
Originally published as Delightful Holiday Bread in Light & Tasty December/January 2007 , p35
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