- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cans (12-1/2 ounces each) poppy seed filling
- Melted butter
- Confectioners' sugar, optional
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add lemon peel and salt. Beat in yeast mixture. Gradually add flour; beat on medium speed for 3 minutes (dough will be sticky). Do not knead.
- Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into four pieces. Roll each into a 12-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Spread poppy seed filling over each to within 1/2 in. of edges.
- Loosely roll up, jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal and tuck ends under. Place, seam side down, on two greased baking sheets.
- With a sharp knife, make five to six deep diagonal slashes across the top of each loaf. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Brush with melted butter. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks. Cool for 20 minutes; dust with confectioners' sugar if desired. Yield: 4 loaves (8 slices each).
Originally published as Poppy Seed Loaves in Best of Country Breads 2000, p86
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