russian easter bread (pascha)

1 cup warm water
2 packages dry yeast
1/4 pound butter
1 small can evaporated milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon mace
5 pounds flour

Crumble yeast in 1/2 cup warm water and set aside. Melt butter in 1/2 cup warm water; add milk and enough water to make 5-1/2 cups lukewarm liquid. Into a large bowl add sugar, salt, mace and half the flour. Make a well and pour in liquid and yeast mixture. Beat until well blended. Add remaining flour and knead until smooth. Put in greased bowl and cover with towel. Place in warm area and let rise until double in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down and let rise again, about 1 hour. Divide dough into 5 parts. Form into three round loaves and place into well-greased 8 or 9 inch round, deep baking pans. Immediately begin making braids long enough to tuck under loaves. In criss-cross fashion, place two braids on each loaf. Cover and let rise in warm place for 1 hour. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. For a golden color, brush with beaten egg the last 5 or 10 minutes of baking.

From Saint Mark’s Church cookbook.

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