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Greek Christmas bread (christopsomo)
Preparation time: 45 minutes
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
Combine yeast, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, dash salt, and warm water in a bowl. Let stand in a warm place for 10 minutes until the mixture is bubbly and foamy. Add 2 eggs, 1/3 cup sugar, cooled milk, and vanilla and stir well. Add melted margarine, almonds, raisins, and lemon peel. Add 3 1/2 cups flour a little bit at a time, stirring until a stiff, elastic dough forms. (Add up to 1/2 cup more flour as needed.) Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for five minutes.
Place in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap, then a damp towel. Let dough rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, then punch down and turn over. Let rise again for 30 minutes until it is about doubled in size. Shape into a round or oblong shape, place on a lightly oiled baking sheet, and let rise again for 30 minutes. Beat the remaining egg and brush about half of the egg mixture on the top of the entire surface of the dough. Discard leftover beaten egg and bake the bread at 350°F for approximately 35–40 minutes, until golden brown and done.
Yield: 1 loaf (22 slices)
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