THE DAY BEFORE: Scald with boiling water 2 1/3 cups poppies and drain off the water. I do this about 3 times. I put poppy seeds in a bowl, scald with hot water and wait until the poppies have settled and then pour off the water.
Let stand for 1 hour in hot water. Drain poppies through a cheesecloth covered net sieve. Let them dry preferably overnight. This way they smell fresh and not dusty.
Grind in a coffee grinder, or through finest blade of food chopper or if you are lucky to have a poppy seed grinder. I use a large stone Mortar and Pestle.
FOR THE DOUGH: DISSOLVE: 1/2 cup of warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 package yeast (1 Tablespoon).
Sift the flour in a large bowl, Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the dissolved yeast. Add around the yeast, the sugar, butter, egg, lemon peel and milk.
MIX and KNEAD for about 10 minutes and little more flour if necessary. This is a soft dough. Let rise in a greased bowl, covered, for about 45 minutes, till doubled in bulk.
Punch down and divide into TWO parts. Roll each into rectangle. Spread with Poppy Seed Filling. Roll up each rectangle like a jelly roll. Pinch seams to make edges secure. Place on greased baking sheet. Cover, let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes, brush with egg wash or cream. (I use evaporated milk to brush tops) I like to slash tops lightly about 1/4 inch deep and 2 inches apart all the way up the roll.
BAKE: preheated oven 350 degree F. for about 45 to 50 minutes or until done. They should be a nice dark brown colour.
FOR THE POPPY SEEDS: Stir HOT milk into GROUND poppy seeds, add the rest of the ingredients in the order listed. Stir until cool. Sometimes I like it sweeter so then I add liquid honey to taste. I also might add some ground prunes to the mixture. You may cook it for a 5 minutes on top of the stove if you wish but it is not necessary.
Sometimes I buy ground poppies (NOT in a can) from the German deli. I still give them a good scalding several times to remove the bitterness and dust from the poppies. This is a delightful sweet dough. So good with only one egg. Do try this filling it is one of the best.