Traditional Russian Easter Bread
- 3 Tablespoons Active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups honey
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 Tablespoons melted butter
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds
- In large mixing bowl, combine milk, yeast and honey; stir well. Cover bowl with clean dish towel; set aside warm place for 10 minutes or until yeast foams.
- In smaller bowl, soak raisins and saffron in rum for 10 minutes. Add raisin mixture and enough flour to yeast to form a thick batter. Stir with wooden spoon vigorously about 20 times. Cover bowl again and let dough rise in warm place 1 hour.
- Transfer dough to floured board or counter; knead 10 minutes or until elastic and silky to touch. Clean bowl. Place kneaded dough into bowl, cover and let rise in warm place 1 hour. Punch down dough, then let rise again 25 minutes.
- Wash and dry, then oil inside of empty 3-pound coffee can. Line can with unprinted buttered brown paper, such as from a grocery bag, cut into long strips, allowing tops of strips to hang over top of can. Tie ends against side of can with string. (Overhanging paper strips make baked bread easier to remove from can.) Roll dough into a ball and press into can. Cover with clean dish towel and let rise 30 minutes or until dough rises above top of can. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake bread in can on lowest oven shelf for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake 40 minutes longer or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes, then open bottom of can with can opener and remove bread by lifting out with paper strips.
Ice if desired.