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Mar 31, 2010

Grandmother's Sweet Bread


1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine, chilled

3 (1/4-ounce) packages active dry yeast (3 tablespoons)

3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F, 45 degrees C)

1 tablespoon plus 1 cup sugar

7 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter or margarine

6 eggs

2 egg yolks

2 egg whites

1 1/2 teaspoons salt


Prepare Topping

1.In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon.

2.Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter or margarine until mixture resembles crumbs. Set aside.

Prepare Bread

1.Grease side and bottom of 2 (10-inch) tube pans.

2.In a shallow, medium bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.

3.Add 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 cup flour, stir to combine.

4.Cover, let stand in a warm place 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.

5.Heat milk and butter or margarine in a small saucepan until melted.

6.Let stand until mixture cools to warm.

7.In a large bowl, beat eggs, egg yolks and remaining 1 cup sugar until pale and frothy.

8.Add cooled milk mixture, salt and yeast mixture. Beat until smooth.

9.Gradually beat in 4-1/2 cups flour.

10.Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.

11.Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface.

12.Knead into a soft, smooth dough.

13.Divide dough in half.

14.Arrange 1 part dough in each greased pan.

15.Cover with a damp cloth, let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

16.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

17.Lightly beat 2 egg whites in a small bowl until foamy.

18.Brush beaten egg whites on top of dough.

19.Evenly sprinkle Topping over dough.

20.Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

21.Cool cakes in pans 3 to 4 minutes on racks.

22.Turn out of pans, cool completely on racks.

23.Frost with Powdered-Sugar Icing, if desired (recipe below). Makes 2 (10-inch) cakes.

Powdered-Sugar Icing

•2 egg whites

•1-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

•1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1.In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until frothy.

2.Gradually add powdered sugar, beating constantly. Beat 10 minutes or until glossy.

3.Add lemon juice, beat 2 minutes or until icing stands up in soft peaks. Makes about 1-1/4 cups icing.

4.Variation: Add food coloring or flavorings, such as 1 teaspoon sifted unsweetened cocoa powder or vanilla extract. Use a little more sugar if liquids are added.