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Delightful Holiday Bread

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
  • Total Time
    Prep: 40 min. + rising Bake: 30 min.
  • Makes
    1 loaf (24 slices)

Ingredients

  • 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
  • TOPPING:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 5 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sliced almonds

Directions

  • 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.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 147 calories, 2g fat (0 saturated fat), 20mg cholesterol, 154mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.
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