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Grandmother's Sweet Bread

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine, chilled

3 (1/4-oz) pkgs. active dry yeast (3 tablespoons)
3/4 cup warm water (110F, 45C)
1 tablespoon plus 1 cup sugar
7 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter or margarine
6 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Grease side and bottom of 2 (10-inch) tube pans.

Prepare Topping: In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon.
Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter or margarine
until mixture resembles crumbs. Set aside.

In a shallow, medium bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 1
tablespoon sugar and 1/2 cup flour, stir to combine. Cover, let
stand in a warm place 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.

Heat milk and butter or margarine in a small saucepan until melted.
Let stand until mixture cools to warm.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, egg yolks and remaining 1 cup sugar
until pale and frothy. Add cooled milk mixture, salt and yeast
mixture. Beat until smooth. Gradually beat in 4-1/2 cups flour.
Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn out
dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead dough into a soft, smooth
dough. Divide dough in half. Arrange 1 part dough in each greased
pan. Cover with a damp cloth, let rise in a warm place, free from
drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350F

Lightly beat 2 egg whites in a small bowl until foamy. Brush beaten
egg whites on top of dough. Evenly sprinkle Topping over dough.
Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center
comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 3 to 4 minutes on racks. Turn
out of pans, cool completely on racks. Frost with Powdered-Sugar
Icing, if desired. Makes 2 (10-inch) cakes.

Powdered-Sugar Icing

2 egg whites
1-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Gradually add
powdered sugar, beating constantly. Beat 10 minutes or until
glossy. Add lemon juice, beat 2 minutes or until icing stands up
in soft peaks. Makes about 1-1/4 cups icing.

Variation: Add food coloring or flavorings, such as 1 teaspoon
sifted unsweetened cocoa powder or vanilla extract. Use a little
more sugar if liquids are added.

Note: This dessert, a cross between cake and sweet bread, is often
baked for Easter.


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