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“This is special and always wows those you serve it to -- it has an appearance like a crown -- each person pulls off her own serving of bread and the texture and taste are fantastic. It may seem a bit time consuming to prepare but each step is simple and, I promise you, worth the effort. This comes from a Good Housekeeping magazine Christmas recipe from some 20 years back!”
4hrs 30mins
1 loaf

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. ABOUT 4 HOURS BEFORE SERVING OR UP TO 2 DAYS AHEAD: In large bowl, combine sugar, salt, yeast and 2 cups flour.
  2. In 1 quart saucepan over low heat, heat water and 3 T.
  3. margarine or butter until very warm (120 –130 – butter does not need to melt completely) With mixer at low speed, gradually beat liquid into dry ingredients just until blended.
  4. Increase speed to medium; beat 2 minutes, occasionally scraping sides of bowl with rubber spatula.
  5. Beat in ¾ cup flour to make a thick batter – continue beating 2 minutes, scraping bowl often.
  6. With wooden spoon, stir in 2 ½ cups flour to make a soft dough.
  7. Turn dough onto well floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, working in more flour while kneading (about ¾ cup).
  8. Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning so that the top is oiled.
  9. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour – until doubled.
  10. (Dough is doubled when 2 fingers, pressed lightly into dough, leave a dent) Punch down dough and turn onto lightly floured surface.
  11. Cover dough with bowl and let rest for 15 minutes for easier handling.
  12. Meanwhile, in small skillet over medium heat, melt 4 T.
  13. butter.
  14. Set aside.
  15. Grease 10 inch tube pan.
  16. Cut dough in half; cut each half into 16 pieces.
  17. Shape each piece into a ball by tucking the ends under.
  18. Place half of balls in tube pan brush with half of melted butter, sprinkle with half of herbs (optional-- my family does not like the thyme version).
  19. Repeat with remaining dough, butter and herbs.
  20. Cover with towel and let rise until doubled – about 1 hour.
  21. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  22. Bake 30 –35 minutes until loaf sounds hollow when tapped lightly with the finger.
  23. Cool loaf in pan on wire rack ten minutes.
  24. Remove loaf from pan and serve warm.
  25. Or, cool loaf and wrap in foil – heat for 10-15 minutes before serving.

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