Apricot Braid Bread

Ingredients:

5 ½ to 6 ½ cup unsifted flour
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 pkg. active dry yeast
½ cup butter
1 cup very warm water
3 eggs, at room temperature

Instructions

Prepare apricot filling and crumb topping and set aside.

For the filling, combine 2 ¼ cups (11 oz. package) dried apricots and 1 ½ cups water in saucepan. Bring to boil; cook until liquid is absorbed and apricots are tender, about 20 minutes then mash. Stir in 1 ½ cups firmly packed brown sugar.

For topping, combine ½ cup un-sifted flour, 3 tablespoons flour, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon. Mix in 3 tablespoons butter until crumbly.

In a large bowl mix 1 ¼ cups flour, sugar, salt and un-dissolved yeast. Add butter, gradually add tap water to dry ingredients; beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer. Add eggs and ¼ cup flour. Beat at high speed 2 minutes. Stir in additional flour to make soft dough; turn out on floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes.

Divide into 3 equal pieces. Roll one piece into 7×12 inch rectangle. Cut 1-inch wide strips along both sides. Fill center strip with of filling, braid outside 2 strips back over center. Sprinkle with topping. You can freeze for later, or let rise (1 ½ hours) and bake at 375° F for 25 minutes.

Special thanks to Hugh and Janice of Ooltewah, TN. for bringing us this recipe.

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