This is a recent recipe that my Sicilian Mother created; a spin on her traditional Sicilian bread recipe that I've been accustomed to since I could walk. This year, it was my turn to make them and I was thrilled to discover they turned out just as good as hers....whew! Our family philosophy imparts time and love into our food, so the bread is made by hand, as the texture is so much better than that of a machine! Light, buttery and rustic, yet slightly sweet, they are the perfect accompaniment to any Holiday meal, but who needs to wait? —Rochelle Maze
2 1/2 tablespoons
Dry, sweetened Cranberries, coarsely chopped
Simmer milk and add margarine and sugar. Whisk until well blended and remove immediately from heat.
Let cool about 15 minutes then add ½ Cup of flour and yeast to the milk mixture and blend well. Let rest 5-10 minutes. (Note: Mixture should be warm and NOT too hot as this will kill the yeast).
Place remaining 5 ½ cups of flour in a large mixing bowl.
Part the flour, creating a "well" in the center and add the milk/yeast mixture, one beaten egg, chopped sweetened cranberries, orange zest, and salt.
Mix gradually by slowly adding 1 cup warm water, while incorporating all the flour.
Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes by punching in various places and folding / turning dough until it springs back slightly to the touch. (Dough should be soft, but not too sticky. A touch of additional flour can be added if this is the case).
Cover and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place, such as a proofing oven set to 100 degrees maximum.
When dough has doubled in size, punch down and divide into 4 equal parts.
On a lightly floured service, roll each of the equal parts into a long log and cut into six pieces (there will be 24 total). Be creative with each roll or simply roll each part in a ball and lay on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Cover with a towel and let rise 30 minutes or until rolls have almost doubled in size.
Beat 1 egg and 1 teaspoon water together until frothy. Brush over rolls and sprinkle sesame seeds.
Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown.