Looking for something special to make this Christmas? Try this bread recipe, shaped to resemble Jesus in swaddling clothes.
- 2 cups lukewarm milk
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 beaten egg
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 5¾ to 6½ cups of all-purpose flour
- In a medium-sized bowl, sprinkle yeast over milk and stir to dissolve. Let stand for 5 minutes to develop.
- Add in sugar, egg, butter, and salt and mix well. One cup at a time, add 5 cups of flour and beat thoroughly after each addition until flour is incorporated. Add enough of remaining flour to make a soft dough that is slightly sticky.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding small amounts of flour as necessary to keep dough manageable. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes, until dough is smooth and satiny.
- Lightly oil the surface of the dough and place it back into rinsed bowl and cover with a clean, dry towel. Allow to rise in a warm place free from drafts until doubled, about 60 minutes.
- Punch dough down and divide in half (one for each bread).
- Roll each half of the dough into a rope about 24 inches long, and form the braid as illustrated.
- Place on a lightly greased baking sheet; cover with a clean, dry towel and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled.
- Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes.
Father Dominic Garramone, OSB, is a Benedictine priest at Saint Bede Abbey in Peru, Illinois. His latest book is ‘Tis The Season To Be Baking (Reedy Press).