Mamu Saia - makes 2 large loaves, or 1 huge one :)

 

Ingredients:

1 packet of Yeast (rapid rise or regular, doesn't matter)
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups milk
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. cardamom seeds, crushed
1/2-3/4 cup raisins (optional)
1 tsp. salt
4-6 cups of flour (all purpose or bread)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
6 tbs. sugar
3/4 cup butter
Turbinado sugar and/or ground almonds for topping (optional)

1.  Scald 1 1/2 cups of milk and let COOL DOWN.  Transfer to a large bowl.

2.  Once the milk is cool, add 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. crushed cardamom seed, and 1 pkg of yeast you dissolved in the
1/4 cup of water.

3.  Add about 2 cups of flour, or enough to make a pancake-like batter.  Cover bowl and let rise in a warm place until bubbles form, 
(about an hour)

4.  Meanwhile, cream the butter with the lemon zest, add the 1 egg and about 6 tbs of sugar.  Mix well.  

5.  Once there are bubbles in the yeast batter, stir it down and add the butter/egg mixture, then sufficient flour to make a pliable dough
(This will be about 2-4 cups more, depending).  Knead well until dough is elastic and not sticky.  At this point, you 
can add in raisins - about 1/2-3/4 of a cup depending on your taste.  Shape into two loaves, or divide dough into half, then each half into thirds, roll out and make ropes and braid
into two loaves.  Cover on pan and let rise about 1/2 hour or so.  Preheat oven to 375.

6.  Brush the surface of the loaves or loaf with beaten egg yolk.  At this point you can sprinkle some sugar and ground almonds
or just leave it plain.  Place the bread in the oven, decrease heat to 350 degrees, and cook about 30-45 minutes, or until loaves are browned and sound hollow when tapped.

Cool.



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