The exotic scents of saffron and lemon will fill your kitchen when you bake this beautiful braided bread.
INGREDIENTS (for 1 servings):
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons saffron
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat; add butter, sugar and stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm. In a small bowl, soak the saffron in the hot water, let cool until lukewarm, drain and reserve the liquid.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk mixture with the reserved saffron water and eggs. Add the yeast and stir to dissolve. Add the salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon zest and 4 cups of the flour; mix well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
Lightly oil a large mixing, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into three equal pieces, form into 14 inch long 'ropes'. Braid the 'ropes' together and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove to a wire rack and cool.