Posted by: Lisa UK 07-08-99 3:23 PM
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
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 then 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 almonds.
Note: Masticha is a flavoring made from sap of mastichodendro bush, which grows only on island of Chios.
Yields 2 large braids.
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