This is a festive, slightly sweet bread that is wonderful for a holiday breakfast of brunch. Can easily be made a day or two ahead
Total Time:6 hours
Yield:12 servings 1x
Basic Sweet Dough
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup very warm water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbs shortening, melted (I used butter)
2 3/4 – 3 cups flour
1/4 cup seedless raisins
1/4 cup candied cherries, chopped
2 tbs candied orange peel, chopped
1/8 tsp mace
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tbs milk
almonds or walnuts for sprinkling
Dissolve yeast in warm water.
Put milk, sugar, shortening, salt in bowl of mixer. Cool until just warm.
Add in 1 cup of flour, mix until combined.
Mix in dissolved yeast.
Whisk egg and add to dough.
Add 1 1/2 cups flour and mix well.
Add fruit, mace, and mix well.
Add remaining flour (2 3/4 cups total) and knead until smooth and satiny. I used my stand mixer and dough hook up to this point, the dough was still sticky.I added about 1/4 more flour, kneading by hand.
Shape into a ball, place in lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 2 1/4 hours.
Punch down. Divide into 9 pieces, shape each into a ball and let rest 5 minutes.
Roll each piece into a rope about 15″ long.
Lay 4 strands on a lightly greased baking sheet, overlapping at the center. Braid from the center toward each end.
With the side of your hand make a trench down the center.
Now braid 3 strands, also from the center to each end, and place in the ‘trench’.
Twist the 2 remaining strands loosely together and place on top, bringing the ends over the end of the loaf and tucking in.
Cover loosely and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Bake, 350F (175C) for 40 – 45 minutes.
Remove and cool on a wire rack.
Mix milk and sugar.
When bread is cool, drizzle frosting over the top. Sprinkle with nuts.
You can find the conversions from volume to weights easily online if needed. To scald milk: heat almost to boiling then allow to cool. It makes the bread lighter. Check online for more info.