Monday, June 13, 2011

Celebration Braid

This is a bread recipe from my Taste of Home Most Requested cookbook. My husband loved this bread and I thought it was even better the next day. This made a huge braid so I might make two smaller braids next time. However, the big one is impressive!

2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
4 1/2-5 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp. water

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the butter, sugar, salt, eggs, and 3 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about one hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into four pieces. Shape each piece into an 18 in. rope. Place ropes parallel to each other on a greased baking sheet.

Beginning on the right side, braid dough by placing the first rope over the second rope, under the third rope, and over the fourth. Repeat three or four times, beginning each time from the right side. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under.

Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Beat egg yolk and water; brush over braid. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to wire rack to cool.

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