Monday, May 10, 2010

Braided Raisin Loaf

1 cup seedless raisins
1 package dry active yeast (or 1 yeast cake)
1/4 cup lukewarm water
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Melted butter or margarine

Rinse and rain raisins. Dissolve yeast in water. Scald milk, add shortening and sugar, and stir until shortening melts. Blend in salt, cinnamon and lightly beaten egg. Stir in yeast. Add 2 cups flour and beat until smooth. Stir in raisins. Blend in remaining flour to make soft dough. Turn out onto floured board and knead lightly. Place in greased bowl and cover closely. Let rise in warm place until doubled in volume.

Turn out onto board and knead down. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Roll 3 into long slender strands and braid on greased baking sheet, pinching ends together. Divide remaining portion into 3 parts and roll into 3 small, shorter strands. Braid together pinching ends. Place on top of large braid tucking end into large braid. Brush top with butter. Let rise about 30 minutes. Bake in moderately hot oven (375 degrees F) about 35-40 minutes. Brush crust with melted butter as soon as loaf is removed from oven. Top may be frosted if desired.

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