A beautiful sweet yeast bread for the holidays, perfect for gift-giving.
2 cups cranberries, chopped
1 whole orange, finely chopped
1 1/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
2 (0.25-ounce) packages active dry yeast, or 4 1/2 teaspoonsactive dry yeast
1 3/4 cups all-purpose or bread flour - divided use
1 1/2 cups butter or margarine
3 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
Approximately 7 cups all-purpose or bread flour
- Combine chopped cranberries, chopped orange, and brown sugar in a saucepan. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until thickened, stirring constantly. Cool.
- Scald milk then cool to 105°F to 115°F. Add yeast and let stand for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup flour; mix well, then set aside for 1 hour.
- Cream butter and 3/4 cup flour with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the yeast mixture. Add salt and up to 7 cups flour to make a stiff dough. Knead on a floured surface for 8 to 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease the surface. Let rise, covered, in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
- Divide dough into three portions and roll each into a 12-inch square. Cut each square into three strips. Spoon the cranberry filling onto each strip and fold to enclose the filling; sealing the edges. Braid the three strips together; seal the ends and tuck under. Repeat with the remaining dough. Let rise, covered, for 45 minutes.
- Bake for 30 to 45 minutes in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven, or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 3 braided loaves.