Holiday Bread

Makes 1 loaf. Recipe provided by Dave Wetzel.

3/4 cup warm water

1/2 cup starter

2 cups unsifted regular all-purpose flour

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

1 cup unsifted regular all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. soda

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup coarsely chopped candied cherries

11/4 cups unsifted regular all-purpose flour, or more

Egg white

1. Mix water, starter and 2 cups flour in a mixing bowl. Cover and leave overnight at room temperature.

2. The next morning, cream butter, sugar and egg yolks with an electric mixer. Combine 1 cup flour, salt, soda, cinnamon and lemon peel; blend into creamed mixture. Add the almonds, raisins and cherries. Mix into the sourdough mixture, turn out on a mound of 11/4 cups flour. Knead until surface is satiny and not sticky, adding more flour if necessary.

3. Divide the dough into thirds and roll each third on the board with your hands to form a strand about 18 inches long. Place strands on a greased baking sheet and braid together. Let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours. Paint with egg white.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a medium brown.