An marvelous holiday treat. Its a lot of work, but worth every bit of the time and effort spent.
List of Ingredients
8 cups flour, divided
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups milk
1 cup butter
2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
3 eggs, beaten
Filling: 2 pounds walnuts, finely ground
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups milk
1-1/4 cups butter, melted
Wash: 1 egg, beaten
1. Prepare dough: In a large mixing bowl of an electric mixer, combine 2 cups of flour, sugar and salt.
2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine milk, butter and 1/2-cup water until very warm (120-130 degrees). The butter does not need to melt. Add yeast to warm liquid and let stand for 15 minutes to proof.
3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add warm milk-mixture to the flour-mixture until blended. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, occasionally scraping dough from sides of bowl. Beat in eggs and 2 cups of flour. Continue beating for 2 minutes. Gradually blend in the remaining flour to make a soft dough (may need up to 1 cup more flour). If using a heavy-duty mixer, attach dough hook and mix for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. If your machine does not have a dough hook attachment, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 to 15 minutes until smooth and elastic.
4. Shape dough into ball and place in a large, greased bowl. Let dough rise in a warm area until doubled, or cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator overnight until doubled in bulk.
5. If using the refrigerator method, let dough come to room temperature before proceeding. Punch down dough and turn out onto a large, lightly floured cloth (an old tablecloth works well). Shape dough into a rectangle and stretch dough from the center out to the edge until the dough is fairly transparent when you place your hand beneath it. When stretched, the rectangle should be approximately 3-by-4 feet. Trim off any thick edges.
6. Prepare filling: Place nuts in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, milk and melted butter. Mix well and let cool 5 minutes. In another bowl, beat eggs until lemon colored, about 2 minutes, and add to nut mixture. Mix well. The filling has the consistency of thick, but soft, frosting. If it is too thick, add a little more milk to reach desired consistency.
7. Spread filling on dough, covering the entire surface. Using the cloth, lift one end of the long side of the dough and roll the dough tightly to form a log, ending with the seam side down.
8. Cut roll crosswise to form two small rolls. Pinch ends to seal. Place each roll on a 9-by-12-inch greased baking pan, shaping into a large S-shape.
9. Prepare wash: Combine egg with 2 tablespoons water and mix well. Brush tops of loaves with wash. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or waxed paper and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk.
10. Place bread in a preheated 350-degree oven until medium brown and bread sounds hollow when thumped with fingers, 40 to 45 minutes. If bread seems to be browning too quickly, loosely cover top of bread with foil.
Cool slightly in pan, remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 35 servings.