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Holiday Braid

 Holiday Braid
My family devours this lovely, special yeast bread during the holidays. The braid gives it such a festive look. I make it year-round, eliminating the candied cherries and serving it as a breakfast bread. -Brenda Mowrey, Taylors, South Carolina
16 ServingsPrep: 35 min. Bake: 40 min. + cooling

Ingredients

  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup chopped red and green candied cherries
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • GLAZE:
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Additional candied cherries, optional

Directions

  • In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in milk. In a large bowl, combine the
  • flour, sugar, salt, lemon peel and cardamom. Cut in butter until
  • crumbly. Add yeast mixture and whole egg; mix well. Stir in
  • cherries, raisins and pecans.
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about
  • 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top.

2 of 2

Holiday Braid (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour (dough will not double
  • in size).
  • Punch dough down; divide into four pieces. Roll three pieces into
  • 15-in. ropes. Braid ropes; place on a greased baking sheet. Divide
  • last portion of dough in half; roll each into a 15-in. rope. Twist
  • ropes. Press an indentation down the center of braided loaf; place
  • twisted dough in indentation. Cover and let rise until doubled,
  • about 30 minutes.
  • Beat egg yolk and water; brush over loaf. Bake at 350° for 20
  • minutes. Cover loosely with foil; bake 20-25 minutes more. Cool on a
  • wire rack. Combine sugar and milk; drizzle over loaf. Decorate with
  • cherries if desired. Yield: 1 loaf.
Nutritional Facts: 1 serving (1 slice) equals 258 calories, 9 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 44 mg cholesterol, 223 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein.