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2 pkgs. dry yeast
3/4 c. warm water
1 can undiluted evaporated milk, lukewarm
1/2-1 c. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. crushed cardamom seeds
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. melted butter
8-9 c. all purpose flour

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, eggs and enough flour to make a batter (about 2 cups). Beat until dough is smooth and elastic. Add about 3 cups of the flour and beat well. Dough should be smooth and glossy in appearance. Add the melted butter; beat until dough looks glossy again.

Turn out onto floured board, cover with inverted mixing bowl. Let rest for 15 minutes. Knead until smooth and satiny. Place in lightly greased bowl, turn dough to grease top. Cover lightly and let rise in a warm place, about 85 degrees, until doubled. Punch down; let rise again. Turn out onto lightly floured board, divide into 3 parts, divide each part into three. Shape each into a strip 16" long by rolling between palms and board. Braid three strips together into a straight loaf, pinch ends together and tuck under. Repeat for second and third loaves. Place on lightly greased baking sheets. Let rise until puffy, about 1/2 to 1 hour.

Glaze loaves with a mixture of beaten egg and milk. Sprinkle with crushed loaf sugar and/or sliced almonds. Bake in hot oven, 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overbake or loaves will be dry. Makes 3 loaves.

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