Christmas Bread/Julekake

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Christmas Bread/Julekake
Christmas bread is delicious with breakfast, and it makes wonderful toast.

Ingredients

        1 c. raisins

        1 c. candied red and green cherries or assorted candied fruit, cut in small pieces

        2 tbsp. active dry yeast; 1 tbsp. sugar

        ¼ c. warm water; 2 c. milk

        ½ c. shortening; ½ c. sugar

        2 tsp. salt

        2 tsp. ground cardamom seed

        6½ c. all-purpose flour

        ½ c. blanched almonds, finely chopped additional all-purpose flour (½ to 1½ c.).

Instructions

Step 1:
Soften raisins by putting them in a small amount of hot water. Prepare cherries or candied fruit by shaking them in a bag with a little flour. Set raisins and cherries aside.

Step 2:
In a glass measuring cup or drinking glass, dissolve yeast and 1 tbsp. sugar in ø c. warm water.

Step 3:
In a saucepan, scald milk. Stir in shortening and let cool for 15 minutes. When cooled, pour milk and shortening in a big mixing bowl. Add sugar, salt, and cardamom and stir.

Step 4:
With a mixing spoon, stir in 2 c. of the flour, 1 c. at a time. Next, add yeast, sugar, and water mixture. Stir, then add 2 more cups flour, stirring. Add candied fruit, raisins, and chopped almonds, mixing well. Stir in 2 c. of remaining flour, 1 c. at a time.

Step 5:
Turn dough onto a floured board and knead well. Use as much remaining flour as it takes to reach a springy, elastic texture. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp cloth.

Step 6:
Put dough in a warm place (about 80°F) or in a closed oven (turned off) with a pan of hot water beneath on the bottom rack. Let dough rise until doubled in size. Punch down and let rise until doubled again. (Each rising should take about 45 minutes.)

Step 7:
Punch down dough and cut into two equal sections.

Step 8:
Knead each section well. Form two round loaves and place them on a cookie sheet. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for about 30 minutes.

Step 9:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. (Be sure to remove the two loaves first if you have put them in the oven to rise).
Step 10:
Bake loaves for about 35 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.

Food: Christmas Bread/Julekake

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