Dec 072013
 

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Potica, Povetica, Poticia…

There are many different ways to spell  it.  My family spells it “Potica”.  Which confuses people into pronouncing it “POT ick ah”, instead of “pah TEET sa”.

No matter—they are names for the same Slavic bread.

A rich mixture of walnuts, honey and sugar spread across the thinly rolled sweet dough, this bread is often made for special occasions.  My mom would make it for Christmas and Easter.  Slavic communities will prepare it for funerals.  In the valley that I live in, where many immigrants came to work the local lead smelter, most everyone knows what this ethnic bread is.  And there are strong opinions on how it should be made.

Mine is a less “rich” version.  If I were to compete with those made in East Helena, I would have to double the filling so as to get the thick swirls of walnuts that characterize the samples that I have had at local funerals.  But given the price of walnuts, and the added calories that I always seem to be counting, I have a lighter version.

But having said that, it is NO DIET FOOD.  It is high in calories.  Which is why we eat it on holidays.  The time of year when you should set your scale back ten pounds…

Give it a try—I use my beloved bread machine to make the dough, and make it in about a third recipe of what my mom used to make.  The result is about a football sized loaf of pure love.

I have detailed the instructions so that anyone can make it—because most won’t attempt it without the tutoring of grandma or great aunt.  Don’t be afraid to prepare it for your next holiday.  Take notes for yourself.  It took me several tries to get the results that I was pleased with.  Not that it altered the taste that much, but the end product should be pretty if you are going to serve it to those people whose name ends in “ich” or “ic”.

But don’t be intimidated by a reputation—just go for it!  You just might score a touchdown with your family!  (or, make it and sell it—most people will pay a premium for it!)

Bread Dough:

Place into the bread machine:

¾ cup plus 1 T. warmed milk–  don’t warm it too much, just take the chill off of it

3 T shortening

2 ½ c. flour

2 T sugar

Scant t. salt

1 egg

2 t yeast

Run your bread machine on the dough cycle.  When done, place the dough onto a well floured countertop.  Allow to rest for 15 minutes (this is very important because it helps to relax the gluten so rolling out the dough is easier)

While your dough is going through the dough cycle of your machine (about 1 ½ hours), then prepare the walnut mixture.

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Grind walnuts in a food processor or hand grinder, checking diligently for any walnut shells that the factory missed.

1 lbs. walnuts

3 T butter or margarine

1/3 c. cream or half and half

Dash salt

1 t. vanilla

1/3. c. honey

1 c. sugar

2 ½ t. cinnamon

1 t. lemon rind

1 large egg, beaten

Add them to a 2 qt. saucepan.  Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT THE EGG,  and stir over very low heat.

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The purpose is to warm the mixture so that it blends well, not to cook it. Once blended, leave it until the dough is rolled out and ready to prepare.

While to dough is resting, take a cloth dishtowel (not a terrycloth one) and “drench” it with flour.  This will serve as the surface onto which you will roll out the dough.  It should measure about 24” x 18”. (I have one that I use consistently for this purpose.)

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Once the dish towel is fully “floured” then place it on the countertop, placing your rested dough in the middle.  Now gently roll out the dough to the edges, flouring your rolling pin if needed.  Don’t worry if you get holes—it doesn’t matter if you do.  Do try to get a consistent thickness.

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Once the dough is rolled, carefully reheat the walnut mixture just until it is soft again.  Remove from heat and stir in the beaten egg, doing it quickly so that none of it “cooks” in the pan.

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You are ready now to spread the walnut mixture onto the dough.  Place spoonfuls as pictured.  Using a spatula ( I like to use one like the pros use for frosting a cake), gently push the mixture across the dough, (do not let the spatula touch the dough – this will make it drag the dough with it) all the while going to all the edges except one of the narrow ends.  Aim for a consistent thickness.  Try not to push hard. It is quite helpful to have the walnut mixture ever so lightly warm so that it spreads easily.

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Now, starting at the short end where you have spread the walnuts all the way to the edge, begin to roll towards the other end, using the towel to make it roll.  If it sticks, don’t worry, simply take a knife and cut it away from the towel.

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Once to the end, pinch the dough so that the roll is sealed.  Then press the round ends of the roll together so that the filling does not push out.

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Now turn it so that the sealed length edge is on the counter and then pull into a loop as pictured.

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Place in to a WELL GREASED 3 qt. enamelware pan.  (This is the small roaster size.)

Now shake latterly until the dough settles a little. Then shake up and down a bit also.  Cover with your floured towel  or clear wrap and place in a warm spot in your kitchen.  Allow to double, about one hour.

Once doubled,  place into the center of a preheated 325 degree oven.  Check at 45 minutes and cover lightly with a sheet of aluminum foil.  Finish baking.  Crust should be nicely browned.

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Once done, place on a cooling rack and run a steak knife around the edges.  Wait ten minutes and then invert onto another cooling rack (make sure you have the rack on top—don’t just dump it out.)  Next, turn it back over using another rack so that the rounded side faces up.  Rub with butter to soften the crust.  Allow to cool.

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Makes a 3 # loaf.  Freezes really well.  I often cut into two pieces and freeze separately.

Keeps well on the counter—no need to refrigerate.  Serve with butter, or not.  Now call yourself a Bohemian princess—you have made Potica!

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Potica, Povetica, Poticia…

Potica, Povetica, Poticia…

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup plus 1 T. warmed milk-- don't warm it too much, just take the chill off of it
  • 3 T shortening
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • Scant t. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 t yeast
  • Filling recipe
  • 1# walnuts
  • 3 T butter or margarine
  • 1/3 c. cream or half and half
  • Dash salt
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/3. c. honey
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. lemon rind
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Instructions

  1. For full pictured instructions go to: www.onlymybestrecipes.com/potica-povetica-poticia/
  2. Run your bread machine on the dough cycle. When done, place the dough onto a well floured countertop. Allow to rest for 15 minutes (this is very important because it helps to relax the gluten so rolling out the dough is easier)
  3. While your dough is going through the dough cycle of your machine (about 1 ½ hours), then prepare the walnut mixture.
  4. Grind walnuts in a food processor or hand grinder, checking diligently for any walnut shells that the factory missed.
  5. Add them to a 2 qt. saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT THE EGG, and stir over very low heat.
  6. The purpose is to warm the mixture so that it blends well, not to cook it. Once blended, leave it until the dough is rolled out and ready to prepare.
  7. While to dough is resting, take a cloth dishtowel (not a terrycloth one) and “drench” it with flour. This will serve as the surface onto which you will roll out the dough. It should measure about 24” x 18”. (I have one that I use consistently for this purpose.)
  8. Once the dish towel is fully “floured” then place it on the countertop, placing your rested dough in the middle. Now gently roll out the dough to the edges, flouring your rolling pin if needed. Don’t worry if you get holes—it doesn’t matter if you do. Do try to get a consistent thickness.
  9. Once the dough is rolled, carefully reheat the walnut mixture just until it is soft again. Remove from heat and stir in the beaten egg, doing it quickly so that none of it “cooks” in the pan.
  10. You are ready now to spread the walnut mixture onto the dough. Place spoonfuls as pictured. Using a spatula ( I like to use one like the pros use for frosting a cake), gently push the mixture across the dough, (do not let the spatula touch the dough – this will make it drag the dough with it) all the while going to all the edges except one of the narrow ends. Aim for a consistent thickness. Try not to push hard. It is quite helpful to have the walnut mixture ever so lightly warm so that it spreads easily.
  11. Now, starting at the short end where you have spread the walnuts all the way to the edge, begin to roll towards the other end, using the towel to make it roll. If it sticks, don’t worry, simply take a knife and cut it away from the towel.
  12. Once to the end, pinch the dough so that the roll is sealed. Then press the round ends of the roll together so that the filling does not push out.
  13. Now turn it so that the sealed length edge is on the counter and then pull into a loop as pictured.
  14. Place in to a WELL GREASED 3 qt. enamelware pan. (This is the small roaster size.)
  15. Now shake latterly until the dough settles a little. Then shake up and down a bit also. Cover with your floured towel or clear wrap and place in a warm spot in your kitchen. Allow to double, about one hour.
  16. Once doubled, place into the center of a preheated 325 degree oven. Check at 45 minutes and cover lightly with a sheet of aluminum foil. Finish baking. Crust should be nicely browned.
  17. Once done, place on a cooling rack and run a steak knife around the edges. Wait ten minutes and then invert onto another cooling rack (make sure you have the rack on top—don’t just dump it out.) Next, turn it back over using another rack so that the rounded side faces up. Rub with butter to soften the crust. Allow to cool.
  18. Makes a 3 # loaf. Freezes really well. I often cut into two pieces and freeze separately. Keeps well on the counter—no need to refrigerate. Serve with butter, or not. Now call yourself a Bohemian princess—you have made Potica!
http://www.onlymybestrecipes.com/potica-povetica-poticia/

Apr 162013
 

Whole Wheat bread-via your bread machine

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If you’ve read my “about me” page, you will know that I am married to a rancher.  We raise beef, barley and wheat.  So you can assume that I have as much beef and wheat as a person would want.

Any you would be right.

A while back, I decided that I would like to grind my own wheat so that I can bake whole wheat bread for my hubbie who happens to like the 100% whole wheat recipe.  I am a city girl, so naturally, I tend toward the white variety.  I often don’t eat the crusts, either, for whatever that is worth.  Maybe it is because I am a little bit spoiled.

So a while back we kept some wheat from a crop that had a very high protein content.  Maybe you don’t know that wheat comes in different qualities.  Depending on the weather, the soil and things like the timing of the precipitation, the wheat will have certain qualities that make if more or less valuable.   One quality that most consistently brings a higher price is the percentage of protein.  A higher protein wheat is more valuable for breads, so since this is wheat’s most common use, a high protein crop is worth more to the farmer.   Coincidentally, the higher protein often happens when there is less rain, a bonus (sort of) when the yields are lower.

The wheat that we saved was 17% protein.  We had it cleaned (more or less) and put in barrels or buckets so that we could use is for our personal needs.  I say more or less, because I still have to watch for an occasional grasshopper head or wheat stalk that made it through the process.

The recipe that I use is 100% whole wheat flour, which is usually pretty dense, but this one is exceptionally light.  I even like it, and I am mostly a white only fan of bread.

I will post pics starting from the grain—you can use store bought whole wheat flour.  If you grind your own, this uses about 3 cups of wheat.

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ready for the grinding

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finished product

 

Whole Wheat Bread

 

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Your ingredients for this recipe

1 2/3 cups water (at about 75 degrees)

2 T. butter or margarine

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 t. salt

4 2/3 cups whole wheat flour

3 t. yeast

Place all the ingredients except the yeast into your bread pan.

Make a small well into the flour; add yeast to this little hole.

Place into the bread machine.

Select the dough cycle and start.  Monitor the kneading so that the dough is not too sticky or too dry.  Dough should be soft but not “dragging” around the paddle.  If it is too dry, add a bit of water, 1 T. at a time.

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make sure your dough is soft but still spins easily

 

Once the first rising is done, remove the dough.  Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

 

Divide into two parts, shape into two loaves and place into greased pans. (Or, as I like to do, into four small loaves)  Lightly grease the tops with oil or spray on shortening to keep them from drying out.

 

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Cover with a light towel and allow to rise for about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

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Place bread pans in the center of the oven.  Bake two loaves for about 30 – 35 minutes.  (Four loaves in about 20 minutes)  Here is my best advice- babysit your oven, checking every 10 minutes after the first 15 minutes.   Every oven and pan is different!  Don’t sabotage your work by not checking the bread for doneness.   The crust should be firm and sound a bit hollow when you tap it.  If you lift the bread a bit in the pan, the underside should be browned, not doughy.

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Allow to cool on a rack—if you must indulge right away, be sure to slice with a serrated knife!  You will most likely disfigure your perfect loaf, but it will be worth it nonetheless.  This is quite possibly where we get the saying,

“A slice of heaven.”

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Here is the Ziplist version for you:

Whole Wheat Bread-via your bread machine!

Whole Wheat Bread-via your bread machine!

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups water (at about 75 degrees)
  • 2 T. butter or margarine
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 t. salt
  • 4 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 t. yeast

Instructions

  1. For detailed, pictured directions, go to: [http://www.onlymybestrecipes.com/whole-wheat-bread-via-your-bread-machine/]
  2. Place all the ingredients except the yeast into your bread pan.
  3. Make a small well into the flour; add yeast to this little hole.
  4. Place into the bread machine.
  5. Select the dough cycle and start. Monitor the kneading so that the dough is not too sticky or too dry. Dough should be soft but not “dragging” around the paddle. If it is too dry, add a bit of water, 1 T. at a time.
  6. Once the first rising is done, remove the dough. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Divide into two parts, shape into two loaves and place into greased pans. (Or, as I like to do, into four small loaves) Lightly grease the tops with oil or spray on shortening to keep them from drying out.
  8. Cover with a light towel and allow to rise for about 1 hour.
  9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  10. Place bread pans in the center of the oven. Bake two loaves for about 30 – 35 minutes. (Four loaves in about 20 minutes) Here is my best advice- babysit your oven, checking every 10 minutes after the first 15 minutes. Every oven and pan is different! Don’t sabotage your work by not checking the bread for doneness.
  11. Allow to cool on a rack—if you must indulge right away, be sure to slice with a serrated knife! You will most likely disfigure your perfect loaf, but it will be worth it nonetheless.
  12. Heavenly-- quite possibly where the saying, "A slice of heaven" comes from!
http://www.onlymybestrecipes.com/whole-wheat-bread-via-your-bread-machine/

 

Feb 122013
 

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One of my favorite kitchen gadgets (and I do LOVE kitchen gadgets) is my bread machine. I have purchased several because I literally wear them out. But since I am a penny pincher, I get them at thrift stores or garage sales from people who have not learned to appreciate their value in the kitchen!  They make superb bread dough without the addition of extra flour that often toughens home baked bread.

But there is another reason that I like them! It is because I think that they are close to MAGIC! You put the ingredients in, push some buttons, and voila`, you have the perfect dough to form into whatever you want. There are only a few recipes that I actually bake in the machine, and that is only if I am pressed for time and cannot babysit the process with shaping and baking.

This recipe is especially soft, sweet and aromatic. The addition of milk and egg give it a soft crumb. It impresses with its beautiful presentation and stays fresh for several days. It is a favorite of my daughter, Andrea, who loves to eat it plain or with butter.

Give it a try. You don’t have to make the braided coil. It works well as formed rolls, too. I like to make sandwiches with it, using a bit of Italian dressing to add some flavor to a cheese and lunch meat combo.  Take it to any potluck or bake it as a gift for any occasion.

Italian Herb Bread

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Start by placing the following ingredients into your bread machine pan:

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup hot tap water

Swirl the pan to mix the above ingredients.

Then, sprinkle 1 T. active dry yeast on top of the liquid.

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Allow to soften for a few minutes.

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Next, swirl this mixture to dissolve the yeast into the warm liquid.

Add 1/4 cup shortening (I prefer Butter Flavor Crisco)

Now, add the dry ingredients:

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 t. salt

4 1/2 cups flour

Top with the herbs:

3/4 t. rosemary

3/4 t. thyme

3/4 t. marjoram

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Start your dough cycle on your bread machine. “Babysit” your machine for the first 5 minutes to be certain that it does not labor too hard. Add a bit of warm water if it seems to be working too hard. If it gets too soft, sprinkle a tablespoon of flour. Most of the time the ingredients don’t need additions, but I like to monitor the first few minutes to be sure that the dough is soft and pliable, but not too sticky. Allow the cycle to finish.

Once the dough cycle is completed, dump the dough onto a flour-sprinkled counter. Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. This will allow you to separate the dough into nine equal pieces without tearing the gluten.

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Next, using a pinching motion with your hands, divide the dough into 3 portions.

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Then, divide each portion into 3 more pieces.  Set them aside and cover with a towel.

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On a clean counter (do not dust with flour) use a rolling motion with the palm of your hands, squishing each portion into a rope, being careful to work from the middle to the ends, using pressure, not pulling, to stretch the dough into 16-18 inch ropes.  If the dough is resistant, dampen your hands with a bit or water, and if too sticky, dust with a little bit of flour.  The trick is to form the ropes without tearing the gluten.  Tearing the gluten will affect the appearance of the coils.

Continue to form all 9 pieces, keeping the dough covered to prevent drying.

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Pinch three ropes together and proceed to loosely braid the pieces, pinching together at the end.

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Next, spray a large, shiny cookie sheet with no stick cooking spray.

Now, loosely coil the braid into a round mound, pressing the end underneath one of the top ropes.  It is important to complete this step so that the coil stays formed.

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Place onto the cookie sheet, placing the coil’s end against the cookie sheet side to prevent uncoiling during baking.  Complete the same action with the remainder of dough.  Once all three are on the cookie sheet, cover loosely and allow to rise for approximately 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, making certain that the middle rack of the oven has at least 5 inches of space for your bread to rise during baking.

Beat one egg with 1 T. cold water.  Using a pastry brush or your fingers, slather all exposed areas of the braids with the beaten egg mixture, being careful not to press too hard on the raised braids.  Use all of the egg, it will give it an appealing  gloss.  Sprinkle with one of the following:  sesame seeds, poppy seeds or marjoram flakes.  You can achieve a consistent coverage by sprinkling from about 12 inches above the pan.

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Place in the oven and set your timer for 12 minutes.  Check every 2 minutes after this and remove once the bread is a consistent browned appearance.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Carefully remove each coil using a large, sharp spatula.  Because of the egg wash, it will stick to the pan, so be patient to remove the coils.  Allow to cool on a rack.  Once cool, store in plastic baggies.

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topped with poppy seeds
Here is the Ziplist version of this recipe:

Herb Bread

Herb Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup hot tap water
  • 1 T. active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup shortening (I prefer Butter Flavor Crisco)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • Top with the herbs:
  • 3/4 t. rosemary
  • 3/4 t. thyme
  • 3/4 t. marjoram

Instructions

  1. [For detailed directions and pictures, go to: /http://www.onlymybestrecipes.com/category/recipes/yeast-breads/]
  2. Start by placing the following ingredients into your bread machine pan:
  3. 1 egg, milk,hot tap water
  4. Swirl the pan to mix the above ingredients.
  5. Then, sprinkle 1 T. active dry yeast on top of the liquid.
  6. Allow to soften for a few minutes.
  7. Next, swirl this mixture to dissolve the yeast into the warm liquid.
  8. Add shortening (I prefer Butter Flavor Crisco)
  9. Now, add the dry ingredients:
  10. Top with the herbs:
  11. Start your dough cycle on your bread machine. "Babysit" your machine for the first 5 minutes to be certain that it does not labor too hard. Add a bit of warm water if it seems to be working too hard. If it gets too soft, sprinkle a tablespoon of flour. Most of the time the ingredients don't need additions, but I like to monitor the first few minutes to be sure that the dough is soft and pliable, but not too sticky.
  12. Allow the cycle to finish.
  13. Once the dough cycle is completed, dump the dough onto a flour-sprinkled counter.
  14. Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. This will allow you to separate the dough into nine equal pieces without tearing the gluten.
  15. Next, using a pinching motion with your hands, divide the dough into 3 portions.
  16. Then, divide each portion into 3 more pieces. Set them aside and cover with a towel.
  17. On a clean counter (do not dust with flour) use a rolling motion with the palm of your hands, squishing each portion into a rope, being careful to work from the middle to the ends, using pressure, not pulling, to stretch the dough into 16-18 inch ropes. If the dough is resistant, dampen your hands with a bit or water, and if too sticky, dust with a little bit of flour. The trick is to form the ropes without tearing the gluten. Tearing the gluten will affect the appearance of the coils.
  18. Continue to form all 9 pieces, keeping the dough covered to prevent drying.
  19. Pinch three ropes together and proceed to loosely braid the pieces, pinching together at the end.
  20. Next, spray a large, shiny cookie sheet with no stick cooking spray.
  21. Now, loosely coil the braid into a round mound, pressing the end underneath one of the top ropes. It is important to complete this step so that the coil stays formed.
  22. Place onto the cookie sheet, placing the coil’s end against the cookie sheet side to prevent uncoiling during baking. Complete the same action with the remainder of dough. Once all three are on the cookie sheet, cover loosely and allow to rise for approximately 1 hour.
  23. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, making certain that the middle rack of the oven has at least 5 inches of space for your bread to rise during baking.
  24. Beat one egg with 1 T. cold water. Using a pastry brush or your fingers, slather all exposed areas of the braids with the beaten egg mixture, being careful not to press too hard on the raised braids. Use all of the egg, it will give it an appealing gloss. Sprinkle with one of the following: sesame seeds, poppy seeds or marjoram flakes. You can achieve a consistent coverage by sprinkling from about 12 inches above the pan.
  25. Place in the oven and set your timer for 12 minutes. Check every 2 minutes after this and remove once the bread is a consistent browned appearance. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Carefully remove each coil using a large, sharp spatula. Because of the egg wash, it will stick to the pan, so be patient to remove the coils.
  26. Allow to cool on a rack. Once cool, store in plastic baggies.

Notes

A beautiful bread that will impress you and your friends!

http://www.onlymybestrecipes.com/herb-bread/

 

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