I'm giving you a heads-up so you won't be caught empty handed on Mother's Day. Look at this loaf!
I made it Easter morning with very little time and effort, and I promise you can whip it out, too. Yeast breads are much easier than they look.
Step 1--You will need to take some initiative and find a sweet bread recipe. If you don't have a basic cookbook, google "sweet bread recipe". Make sure it calls for butter, eggs and sugar or honey. If it doesn't, google again.
Step 2--Follow the recipe, doubling the amount of yeast, and make the dough the night before Mother's Day. [I'm giving you this extra weekend, in case you feel the need to practice. You won't regret having a loaf to eat yourself.] Put the dough in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge overnight. Have on hand, a jar of raspberry jam, a can of almond paste and a cup of fresh or frozen raspberries.
Step 3--Mother's Day morning you need to get up and take the dough out of the fridge at 6AM, then go back to sleep for a couple hours. Then, get up about two hours before you want to serve the bread hot from the oven.
Dump the dough onto a flat clean surface and roll or press into a rectangle about 9 X 13 inches. With a knife point, draw two lines marking the dough into three long, even sections. Spread a layer of jam down the center section. Slice the almond paste into flat pieces and lay along the top of the jam. Sprinkle the raspberries evenly on top the almond paste.
With scissors or knife, cut 1/2 inch horizontal strips in both outer sections of dough, running from the edge almost to the jam.
Fold one end up slightly so the filling won't run out, and begin crossing the strips over one another until you reach and seal the opposite end.
Lift the braid carefully onto a baking pan and let raise in a warm place (70-90 degrees) for one hour. During this time you can relax, drink coffee, read the paper or mop the kitchen floor. After about 45-50 minutes pre-heat the over to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating take one egg white and mix it with two tablespoons of water. Then in a separate bowl, mix half a cup of powered sugar with a tablespoon of milk or cream to make icing.
When the bread has risen for one hour, very, very gently brush the egg white mixture over the top of the loaf with the corner of a paper towel. Bake the braid on the middle rack for 30 minutes.You can tell it's done when it's nicely browned on top and sounds hollow when you knock it with your knuckle. Take it out of the oven and drizzle it with icing. Serve immediately. I guarantee your mother and/or mother-in-law will be impressed.
Now wasn't that easy?
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