Raisin Nut Braid
|Active dry yeast/1 cake compressed yeast||1⁄4 Ounce|
|Water||1⁄4 Cup (4 tbs)|
|Milk||2 Cup (32 tbs), scalded|
|Sugar||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)|
|Shortening||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)|
|Sifted all purpose flour||7 Cup (112 tbs)|
|Seedless raisins||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
|Chopped california walnuts||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
Soften active dry yeast in warm water or compressed yeast in lukewarm water.
Combine milk, sugar, shortening, and salt.
Cool to lukewarm.
Add about 3 cups flour; beat well.
Add the softened yeast; stir in raisins and nuts.
Add enough remaining flour to make moderately stiff dough.
Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead till smooth and satiny (about 5 to 8 minutes).
Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease surface.
Cover; let double (2 hours).
Divide dough into two equal parts.
Shape each part into a smooth ball.
Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
Divide each half of dough in thirds and roll out into strands about 1 inch across and 20 inches long.
On a greased baking sheet, lay 3 strands about 1 inch apart.
Braid together beginning in the middle and working toward either end to avoid stretching.
Repeat with 3 remaining strands on another baking sheet.
Cover and let rise in a warm place till double (about 1 1/4 hours).
Bake in a moderate oven (375°) for 20 to 25 minutes.
While still slightly warm, brush tops with Confectioners'' Icing: Slowly add 2 tablespoons milk to 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar.
Stir till smooth.
Garnish with candied cherries, if desired.