elizabeth chowning's divine bread

Categories
Breads
Yield
2 servings
MeasureIngredient
2 packs Active Dry Yeast
1½ cup Lukewarm Water
½ cup Sugar
1 tablespoon Salt
4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter -- melted
4 larges Eggs
7 cups All-Purpose Flour -- sifted
Egg Yolk -- beaten
2 tablespoons Heavy Or Whipping Cream --
  Or more to taste
  Poppy Seeds -- for garnish

1. Dissolve the yeast in the water in a large bowl or in bowl from electric mixer or food processor.

2. Add the sugar, salt, butter, and eggs and mix thoroughly. Add about 6½ cups flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well.

3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3 mins. Add just enough of the remaining flour to keep it from being sticky. (Too much flour makes a heavy bread.) 4. Put the dough in a greased large bowl and turn it to coat well.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place and leave it in a warm place until doubled in volume, 1 to 1 ½ hrs. (If after the rising the dough still seems too sticky to work with, chill it thoroughly. Cold dough is always easier to manage.) 5. Punch the dough down; roll it out on a lightly floured surface to rid it of air bubbles. Make 2 free-form loaves.

6. Place the loves on a lightly greased or non-stick baking sheet.

Cover with plastic wrap and leave in warm place until has doubled in bulk, about 1 ½ hrs. The dough should feel light and springy.

7. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

8. Mix the egg yolk thoroughly with the cream and brush the glaze on the tops of the loaves. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

9. Place the baking sheet on the middle shelf of oven and bake until bread is golden and hollow sounding when rapped with knuckles, 45 to 50 mins.

10. Turn the loaves out onto a rack; turn them several times during cooling process.

Variations:

DIVINE BRAIDS: Prepare the dough thru' step 5, dividing the dough in half. Cut each half into 3 even strips. Braid the strips into 2 loaves, pinching the ends under. Proceed with step 6.

DIVINE MINK STOLES: Make up the dough thru' step 4. Punch the dough down and roll it out ½ inch thick and 6 inches wide on a lightly floured surface. Cut into strips 1 inch wide.

Fold each strip in the shape of a mink stole crossed over your shoulders. Place the stoles about 3 inches apart on a lightly greased or non-stick baking sheet.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow the rolls to rise until light and springy, 45 mins to 1 hr. Brush them with mix of egg yolk and cream, and sprinkle then with poppy seeds. Bake in middle of preheated 375 F oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 mins. Serve warm or cold.

DIVINE ROLLED KUCHEN WITH PRUNE AND WALNUT FILLING: 1 recipe Chowning's Divine Bread 1 cup packed ready-to-eat prunes, coarsely chopped ½ cup chooped walnuts 1. Prepare Divine Bread thru' step 4. While bread is rising, mix together the prunes and walnuts in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Knead the dough lightly and divide it in half. Roll out each half into a rectangle ½ inch thick. Cover each half with half of the filling. Press the filling well into the dough, then roll up tightly as you would a jelly roll. Tuck the ends under and place on lightly greased or non-stick baking sheets.

3. Cover loaves with plastic wrap and leave them in warm spot, draft-free, until doubled in bulk and light and springy, 1 to 1 ½ hrs. Brush tops with mix of egg yolk and 2 Tbs cream. (No poppy seeds, please.)

4. Preheat oven to 350 F.

5. Place sheets on middle shelf of oven and bake for 30 to 45 mins, or until loaves are golden and hollow sounding when rapped with knuckles.

6. Remove loaves to a rack and cool completely. Slice and serve. These loaves freeze well if allowed to cool completely first.

Recipe By : The Heritage of Southern Cooking - ISBN 0-89480-117-1 From: Dan Klepach Date: 04-26-95 (159) Fido: Cooking

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