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GREEK EASTER BREAD

Ingredients:

1 cup milk
1/2 cup sweet butter
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 Eggs; beaten
5 Tablespoons orange juice, divided
1 Tablespoon grated orange rind
5 1/2 cups sifted flour
butter; melted
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Directions:

In a small saucepan, combine the milk and butter over medium heat and scald. Stir until the butter melts, then pour into a mixing bowl.

When lukewarm, sprinkle in the yeast, and gradually stir in the 1/2 cup sugar until it dissolves.

Next add the salt, eggs, 3 Tablespoons of orange juice, and the orange rind, stirring continuously.

Gradually add half the flour until the mixture begins to bubble. Continue adding flour gradually by hand; the dough will be sticky, but not stiff.

Flour your fingers lightly and knead for 15 minutes.

Place the dough in a large buttered bowl, brush the dough with melted butter, cover, and place in a warm area to rise until doubled in bulk (approximately 2 to 3 hours).

Punch the dough down and divide into 2 parts. Divide each half into 3 parts and roll each into a long rope about 10" x 2". Braid the three ropes together; pinch to seal the ends.

Repeat with the other half of the dough to make a second Easter Bread.

Place on a cookie sheet, cover, and let rise until doubled in bulk (approx. 1 1/2 hours).

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by mixing the remaining 2 Tablespoons orange juice, 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, and the slivered almonds in a small bowl.

Bake at 375 degrees F about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and with a pastry brush glaze the tops and sides of loaves. Return to the oven and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until the color is a rich and shiny chestnut.