|2||each||yeast, active dry||packages*|
|7 1/2||cups||flour, all-purpose|
Mix together the water, yeast, milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, half the flour, the lemon rind, mace, raisins, and almonds. Add flour until dough is smooth and workable. Knead on a floured board until smooth and elastic. Put in a greased bowl, turn to coat, cover with a damp tea towel and place in a warm spot to rise until double, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch dough down. Divide in half. Set one half aside and divide the other into 4 equal parts. Shape three of the pieces into 14 inch long strands and braid on a lightly greased cookie sheet (you may want to arrange this diagonally. These get big!). Fasten ends together and tuck under. Take fourth piece and divide in thirds and make a second smaller braid to go on top of the first. Repeat with other half of dough on a second greased cookie sheet. Cover each braid loosely with damp tea towels and let rise for 45 minutes to an hour.
For decoration, gently press halved maraschino cherries (well rinsed) and/or pecan halves into joints of braids. Brush loaves with a glaze made from egg yolk and 1 tb water, and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown, but not dark.
When loaves have cooled completely, mix a confectioner's sugar glaze of four tb butter, about 1/3-1/2 c milk, and confectioner's sugar until the consistency is thick but will still run down the sides, and drizzle glaze over the tops of the loaves.
First published: 1996-01-27 last updated: 2014-03-12
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