Serving Size / Yield
- 3 1/2 to 4 C All purpose flour
- 2 Pkgs Active dry yeast
- 1 C Milk
- 1/4 C Sugar
- 1/4 C Butter (or margarine)
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 Egg
- 1 C Dried cherries, chopped ( or dried mixed fruit bits)
- 1 Beaten egg yolk
In a large bowl combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the yeast; set aside. In a saucepan heat and stir milk, sugar, butter, and salt just until warm (120F to 130F) and butter almost melts. Add to flour mixture. Then add egg. Beast with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Stir in cherries and as much of the remaining flour as you can.
On a floured surface, knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total). Shape into a ball. Pace in a greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise until doubled in size ( about 1 hour).
Punch dough down. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into quarters. Cover an let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grease 2 baking sheets. Roll each quarter of dough into a 26 inch rope. Place 2 ropes, side by side, on each prepared baking sheet (ropes will extend beyond ends of the baking sheet). Twist the two ropes together. Shape into a figure 8, tucking ends under in the center. Cover and let rise until nearly double in size ( about 40 minutes).
Brush loaves with mixture of egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water. Bake in a 350F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until bread test done (if necessary, cover with foil the last 15 minutes of baking). Remove from baking sheets and cool on a wire rack.