Sweet Bread Christopsomo

Posted by Lisa UK July 99


3 packages (3 tablespoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon plus 1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbs plus 7-8 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
5 eggs;divided
1 1/2 cups milk, scalded and cooled
1 tsp masticha flavoring (see note) or 1 tsp vanilla extract
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup slivered blanched almonds
1/2 cup white sultanas
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Combine yeast, warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl.

Let stand in a warm place until mixture bubbles and foams, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat together 4 eggs, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, cooled milk, and yeast mixture.

Add 3 cups of flour and masticha or vanilla extract.

Add melted butter, almonds, sultanas, and lemon peel.

Continue to add flour and knead well about 5 minutes, or until dough is quite stiff but elastic.

Place in greased bowl. Cover first with plastic wrap and then with a damp towel.

Let dough rise in a warm place until double in bulk. Punch down and turn over in bowl.

Cover and let rise for 30 minutes more. Shape dough into 6 ropes and braid 3 at a time.

Place braids on a lightly greased cookie sheet and let rise for 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 .

Beat remaining egg and brush each braid with it. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Variation: 1 cup mixed candied fruit can be added with the almonds.

Masticha is a flavoring made from the sap of the mastichodendro bush,which grows only on the island of Chios.

Yields 2 large braids.

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