Christmas Sweet Breads

8 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon mace
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind or  dry lemon peel
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups milk, heated
2  eggs and 2 egg yolks
2  envelopes dry yeast or 2 tablespoons {dry yeast} dissolved in 1/4 cup water with a pinch of sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup light raisins
1/4 cup or more slivered almonds
1/2 cup candied fruit, chopped fine
Egg Wash
1  egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon sugar
Mix flour with spices and lemon rind. Work in butter as you would for pie crust.

Put the cup of sugar into the heated milk. Beat the eggs and 2 yolks together. When milk cools, add half the flour. Keep mixing; add beaten eggs, then yeast dissolved in the water. Add remaining flour until you have a nice, smooth dough. Then add vanilla, raisins, almonds, and candied fruit.

Mix well, cover, and let stand in warm place until dough rises to double. Punch down and place on lightly floured board. Divide dough into 9 parts.

Roll each piece by hand into 12-inch strips. Braid 4 strips together and put on a greased pan 16 1/2- x 10-inches.Braid 3 more strips together and place on top of the first braid. Then twist together the last 2 strips and place on top of the other 2 layers.

Let rise in warm place about 35 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat egg with milk and sugar. Brush braids with egg wash and bake about 1 hour. When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Ease of Preparation: Moderate

Preparation Time: 30 min
plus rising time

Cook Time: 1 hr

Servings: makes 1 large loaf

Recipe By: Lester Sykora, Cedar Rapids, IA

From:  Czech and Slovak Touches - Recipes, History, Travel, Folk Arts
Used with permission of Penfield Press

Chef Suggestions
This recipe will also make two smaller loaves. (Adjust baking time to 45 minutes.)