|makes 6 loaf rings|
1 1/4 cups scalded milk, let cool to room temperature
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups flour
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
In a large mixer bowl, put the yeast, room temperature milk, salt, butter, eggs and sugar. Using a wooden spoon, mix well until sugar is dissolved. Add 2 cups of the flour to the wet mixture and beat with wooden spoon until all incorporated.
Add 1 1/2 cups more flour; mix with wooden spoon until this additional flour is once again incorporated.. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in enough of the remaining 1/2 cup of flour until smooth. Place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour and half.
*** ( If you would like to make half raisin bread and half plain: Divide dough into 2 halves and knead in the ½ cup raisins, into 1 half of dough. Then proceed with placing the 2 halves of dough in 2 smaller greased bowls, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour and half).
Punch dough down, divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1" thick and about 14" long log (or snake, like you do with play dough). Take two logs, twist to form a braid, pinching the ends. Form each twisted braid into a circle.
Place on a parchment lined baking sheets. ( I put 3 on each cookie sheet in a zig-zag pattern). Cover with tea towel and let rise until double, about another hour and half. Make egg wash (1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water). Brush each loaf with the egg wash.
Bake at 350 ° until golden - about 18 minutes. (Check after 16 minutes, for all ovens are different). Cool on rack.
Enjoy! Élvez! Piacere! Gustirati! Radosť!
When I give these for gifts at Easter, I place a hard boiled egg in the center of each ring, as shown in picture above).