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Cheddar Braids


1 cup water, warm, 110-115 deg. f.
1 package active dry yeast, or
1 tsp active dry yeast, bulk
3 1/2 cup unbleached flour, *
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
4 each eggs, lg, room temperature
6 oz cheddar, extra sharp, diced
1 each egg, lg
1 tsp milk
2 tsp celery seeds

* You can use up to 4 1/2 cups of flour in this recipe depending
on the +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++++++ ++++ Pour the warm water into a warm bowl and add the
yeast. Stir to dissolve then let stand until light and puffed, about
5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour, sugar and salt. Beat with an
electric mixer on the lowest speed for 1 minute. Beat on medium
speed for 2 minutes longer. Add the butter to the yeast mixture and
beat for another 1 minute. On the lowest speed on the mixer, beat in
1 egg and 1/2 cup of flour until well blended, repeating until the 4
eggs are used up and enough flour has been added to make a soft
sticky dough. Continue to beat with the mixer or by hand, until the
dough is glossy and elastic and pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Stir in the cheddar cheese by hand. Cover and let rise in a warm
place free from drafts until doubled in bulk, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch down and place in the
refrigerator for at least 5 hours or better, overnight. Remove the
dough from the refrigerator.
Divide in half and cover and refrigerate the second ball of dough.
Knead the remaining ball of dough on a lightly floured surface until
soft and pliable. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts and roll each
piece into a rope 12 to 16-inches long. Braid the ropes, starting in
the middle and working toward each end. Pinch the ends together so
seal them. Grease a large baking sheet and place the finished braid
on one side of the sheet. Repeat with the refrigerated dough. In a
small bowl beat the egg and milk together. Brush the braids with the
egg mixture and let the braids rise in a warm place, free from
drafts, until dough in bulk, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Do not cover.
Midway through the rising time, brush with the egg mixture again.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. When fully risen, brush with the
egg mixture for a final time and sprinkle evenly with the celery
seeds. Bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven until a wooden
skewer or pick inserted in the braid comes out dry. Remove from the
oven and from the baking sheet. Cool to room temperature, on wire
racks, before slicing.


Servings: 8



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