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Prep 30 mins
Cook 5 hrs
Now, here is something that my family gets every year at Easter. I am putting it on Recipezaar to immortalize it. My grandmother is notorious for not writing her recipes down. So, when you ask her how much flour she used she will hold out her hands and say "this much". Well, this year I'm getting it down while I still can (I get this recipe every year and lose it about a month after Easter). This recipe is for a traditional Italian sweet bread which my grandmother has been known to serve with those salami-style cured sausages. We also like to just eat this bread with coffee. I have shown the traditional method of making this recipe but you can also use the dough setting on your bread machine- I did it for the first time yesterday. The amounts below are for half a batch since the whole batch is too large for a bread machine and it yields 4-5 regular sized loaves or 2 massive ones.
- Traditional Method:.
- Mix warm water, 1 tsp sugar, and yeast together and let sit for ten minutes or so (or until foamy) to proof the yeast.
- Sift together flour, sugar, cinnamon, lemon rind, salt. Place in a large bowl and make a hole in the middle of the dry mixture.
- In a separate small bowl, beat 3 eggs and add in the canola oil, the yeast mixture, and the Grand Marnier (if you're using it) and mix it all together and dump it into the hole you created in the center of the dry mixture.
- Work with this as you would pizza dough. Slowly beat in flour with a fork and when it is stiff enough to knead, put flour on your hands so it doesn't stick and add in the rest of the flour. Once all the flour is incorporated, you may want to transfer the dough to a floured surface to continue kneading.
- Decide whether you want to shape the dough into on large loaf (in which case you will need to place it into a GREASED lasagna-sized pan to rise and bake) or whether you want to try placing it in 2 or 3 GREASED loaf pans. I personally only make one loaf, thus I don't know the baking times for the smaller loaves. If you make it in a large pan, you should shape the dough into a circle so that it grows into a nice shape since it will not quite "grow" into the pan.
- SEE INFORMATION ABOUT BAKING AND RISING UNDER THE BREAD MACHINE INSTRUCTIONS.
- Bread Machine Method:.
- Place ingredients in bread machine in the order recommended in your bread machine's manual (My order was: water, 3 beaten eggs, oil, liqueur (if using), 2 cups flour 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 cup sugar, lemon rind, 2 cups flour, yeast (in a whole formed in the flour), salt and sugar (1 tsp) along the edges of the pan.
- I put it on the dough cycle just until it finished kneading (about 35 minutes or so) as I wanted it to rise in the pan I would be baking it inches.
- Turn it onto a floured surface to shape it and place it in a greased pan (see note above under traditional method concerning options on pan size).
- Baking and Rising instructions for both methods:.
- Take the greased pan or pans and cover them with a clean dish cloth and put in a warm place to rise for 4 hours. I usually let the stove warm slightly while I am working with the dough, turn off the heat, and put it in there to rise but be careful not to let the oven get too hot. It only needs to be warm, not hot.
- After 4 hours, take dough out of oven and pre-heat oven to 300. At this point, beat an egg and brush it over the top of the loaf/loaves.
- If you have shaped the dough into one large bread, it will take between 45 minutes and 1 hour to bake. When it is done, the top will be somewhere between a golden colour and a dark brown. Mine took about 55 minutes this year.
- If you have gone with the smaller loaves, you will simply have to keep an eye on things since I am not sure how long they would take to bake. I would estimate about 30 minutes.
This is a really nice bread! Just lightly sweet with a hint of citrus flavor. As I put it on my baking stone, I thought it would be very heavy, but after 4 hours of rising, it was nice and light. The flavors and aromas were calling out to me to add some dried fruit, so I did, though I'm sure it would have tasted very nice without it as well. I look forward to eating it for breakfast with a bit of cream cheese. Thanks for posting!