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Southern Corn and Bacon Braid
These double-decker braided loaves are impressive and delicious!
2 "stacked" braided loaves
45 to 55 minutes
1 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup warm buttermilk (100° to 110°F)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 envelopes Fleischmann's® Active Dry Yeast
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup butter OR margarine, softened
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup canned cream style corn
1 cup canned, drained, whole kernel corn
1 jar (3 ounces) real bacon bits
1 cup chopped bell peppers (any color, or use a variety)
6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
Combine cornmeal, salt and baking soda in a large mixer bowl. Combine warm buttermilk, sugar and yeast in a small bowl; let stand 10 minutes. Add to cornmeal mixture. Stir in onions, butter, eggs, cheese, corn, bacon and peppers until well mixed. Add enough flour about 1 cup at a time (mixing after each addition) until a soft dough is formed.
Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down and divide in half. Set aside 1 half. Divide remaining half into 2 pieces, one about 2/3 of the dough and the other about 1/3 of the dough. Divide larger portion into 3 equal pieces; roll to 14-inch ropes. Place ropes side-by-side on greased baking sheet; braid. Pinch ends to seal. Divide remaining (smaller) piece into 3 equal pieces. Roll to 9-inch ropes; braid. Place small braid on top of large braid. Pinch ends firmly to seal and secure to large braid. Repeat with remaining dough to make second loaf. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Bake in preheated 375°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until done, switching positions of sheets in oven halfway through baking time. Remove from sheets; let cool on wire racks.