Another recipe from my childhood Christmases, Poppy Seed Bread. My mother was raised in a neighborhood with many different ethnic groups sharing delicious foods with each other from all over the world. She learned from her Polish neighbors to make Eastern European style pastries which she incorporated into her holiday baking. Making her old holiday pastries transports me again 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
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)
7 to 7 1/2 cups sifted all purposed flour
4 tablespoon butter
2 cans Poppyseed pastry filling(Solo)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup golden raisins
Preheat oven to 375F. Heat milk until tiring bubbles form, 2-3 minutes. Put 1/4 cup of hot milk in a small bowl, let cool to lukewarm. Add yeast, let dissolve for 5 minutes. In a large bowl add remaining milk and cool. Stir in salt, sugar, shortening, and eggs. Next, add dissolved yeast then on low beat in half of the flour gradually. By hand add as much of remaining flour to make the dough easy to handle. Knead on a wooden board for about 5 minutes. Put the dough in a bowl, cover with a clean towel letting rise to double in size for approximately an hour. Knead the dough again, place 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 dough to half-inch from edge. Sprinkle pecans than raisins. Roll up jelly-roll style. Place both loaves on 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.