Poppy Seed Bread is another Christmas recipe from my childhood. My mother was raised in a neighborhood with many different ethnic groups sharing delicious foods with each other. She learned from her Polish neighbors to make Eastern European-style pastries which she incorporated into her holiday baking. When I make her old holiday pastries transports me to a time when I learned the magic of Christmas, which still lives with me to this day!
Poppy Seed Bread
2 cups whole milk
2 packages yeast, Red Star Premium yeast
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)
7 to 7 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, King Arthur Flour
4 tablespoon butter, Cabot
2 cans Poppyseed pastry filling(Solo)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup golden raisins; you can also use dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 375F. Heat milk until tiring bubbles form, 2-3 minutes. Put 1/4 cup of hot milk in a small bowl, and let cool to lukewarm. Add yeast, and let dissolve for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, add the remaining milk and cool. Stir in salt, sugar, shortening, and eggs. Next, add dissolved yeast on low and beat in half of the flour gradually. By hand, add as much of the remaining flour to make the dough easy to handle. Knead on a wooden board for about 5 minutes. Put the dough in a bowl, and cover it with a clean towel letting it rise to double in size for approximately an hour. Knead the dough again, place it back in the bowl and let rise again for another hour.
Divide dough in half; roll each half into an oblong sheet about 1/2 inch thick. Melt butter, then brush over dough. Spread poppy seed pastry filling over the dough to half-inch from the edge. Sprinkle pecans than raisins. Roll up jelly-roll style. Place both loaves on the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Cover and let rise again for an hour. Then bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
This recipe can be cut in half if you only want to make one loaf.