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1. Let 4 eggs, whipping cream, and butter stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Oil a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, place raisins in a small bowl. Add enough boiling water to cover. Let stand 20 minutes to plump. Drain well; set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, heat milk just until warm (110 degrees F). Transfer to a small bowl; add yeast, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and 2 teaspoons flour. Mix for 1 minute or until smooth. Set aside for 10 minutes or until doubled.
4. In a very large bowl whisk softened butter for 30 seconds. Add the eggs, whipping cream, 3/4 cup sugar, and vanilla. Lightly whisk for 3 minutes. Add lemon peel, the yeast mixture, and bread flour.
5. Use one hand to scrunch and knead the dough, turning the bowl with opposite hand. Continue kneading until the dough starts to feel smooth and moves as one (5 to 7 minutes). Knead in drained raisins. Dust top of dough with flour. Cover dough and let rest in a warm place until double in size (about 1 hour).
6. Knead the dough in the same bowl for 3 to 5 minutes. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
7. Oil a large clean work surface. Turn out dough onto oiled surface. Divide dough in 3 equal portions. Roll and shape each portion into a 30-inch rope. Fold each rope in half lengthwise; slightly twist each one. Arrange ropes lengthwise, side by side, in prepared pan. Loosely cover; let stand in a warm place about 30 minutes.
8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly brush bread with the beaten egg. Bake for 10 minutes or until the top begins to brown. Cover loosely with foil and bake 10 minutes more. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Bake 15 minutes more. Remove foil; reduce oven temperature to 225 degrees F. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until baked through (skewer inserted comes out clean).
9. Remove bread from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. Wrap in a clean tablecloth (or tea towels) to keep warm.