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Celtic knot bread for Easter

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During the Easter holiday, as with most holidays, the Irish-American looks for various ways to make their holiday more Irish. Twisting this sweet bread dough into a Celtic knot is just one way to add an Irish specialness to the holiday. After the Lenten fast, this sweet bread with its honey goodness is great for breakfast or for tea time.

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This recipe is easy—easy! The recipe has straightforward measurements for one loaf and fits nicely into a KitchenAid mixer. The dough should be sticky! The sticker the dough feels, the softer the loaf.

1 package dry yeast
1 Tsp sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
3 eggs
1/4 cup good honey
1 1/2 Tsp fine sea salt
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, more as needed
1/3 cup of raisins (optional)

1. Combine yeast, sugar, and 1/2 cup warm water in a Kitchen Aid mixing bowl. Let yeast mixture rest at room temperature for about 5 minutes until it starts to look foamy.

2. Whisk in orange juice, olive oil, 2 eggs, honey, and salt. Add raisins if desired. Install the dough hook onto the Kitchen Aid mixer. Slowly beat in 1 cup of flour at a time to form a smooth dough. Continue beating the dough well after each flour addition using a medium speed until smooth and elastic. Remember you want the dough to remain sticky.

3. Turn the sweet dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 1 minute until the dough begins to spring back. It should still feel sticky.

3. Lightly oil large bowl. Add dough, turning to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours.

4. Punch down the dough. Cover again with plastic and let rise another hour. Punch dough down again.

5. Grease a baking sheet. Turn out the sweet dough onto lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each piece into long thin ropes of dough. Arrange ropes in a criss-cross pattern and braid working in a counter clockwise direction until you have form a round shape. Tuck ends under the braided knot form. Place braided round in on the baking sheet. Whisk remaining egg, brush dough all over and let rise again until the dough size has doubled, about 30 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush dough again with the egg wash. Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes until golden and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. An instant read thermometer should read 190 degrees F. Transfer the Celtic knot bread to rack and cool completely.

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