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Onion and Poppy Seed Purim Ring (D/P)
Source: Maggie Glezer, "A Blessing of Bread"
Yield: 1 bread ring

1 envelope instant yeast (2-1/4 tsp.)
3-3/4 cups bread flour (approximately), divided
3/4 cup warm water
2 large eggs
1 large egg, for glazing
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup yellow onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup poppy seeds, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 tsp. table salt
1 tbsp. flour
3 tbsp. melted unsalted butter, margarine, or vegetable oil

In large bowl, whisk together yeast and 3/4 cup of the flour, then whisk in the warm water until smooth. Let yeast stand uncovered 10 to 20 minutes or until it begins to ferment and puff up slightly.

Whisk the 2 large eggs, oil, salt and sugar into the fermented yeast until eggs are incorporated and salt and sugar have dissolved. Stir in remaining 3 cups of flour all at once. When mixture is a shaggy ball, scrape it onto work surface and knead it until smooth, no more than 10 minutes.

(Food processor option: Mix ingredients in bowl as directed, cut dough round in half and process one half at a time, then knead the two halves together. If dough is too firm to easily knead, add a tbsp. or two of water to it.)

Place dough in clean bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Dough will double in bulk in about 2 hours.

Line a large baking sheet with foil and generously oil. In bowl, combine onion, poppy seeds, salt, the 1 tbsp. flour and the melted butter or margarine. Divide mixture into two equal portions.

When dough has doubled in bulk, cut dough into two pieces. Roll each piece into a 30" strand, then, using rolling pin, roll strand into 30"x4" rectangle. Spoon heaping line of half filling down center of dough. Pull long edges up over filling and pinch them together.

Arrange strands side by side, seams down. Beginning in middle, cross one strand over the other, being careful to keep seams facing down and continuing to cross the strands until you reach their ends. Pinch ends together. Bring ends around to form a ring, place it seam side down on prepared sheet and cover it well with plastic wrap.

Let ring rise until tripled in size and very soft, about 1-1/2 hours. Before baking, arrange oven rack in lower position and preheat oven to 350°F. When dough does not push back when gently pressed with your finger but remains indented, it is ready to be baked.

Beat the remaining egg with a pinch of salt and glaze the ring with it. Sprinkle with poppy seeds, if desired.

Bake in preheated 350°F oven 45 to 50 minutes until very well browned. After 30 minutes of baking, turn pan around so ring browns evenly. When ring is done, remove it from oven and let it cool on rack.

Poster's Notes:
"This recipe is from Milwaukee native Maggie Glezer's latest book, "A Blessing of Bread" (Artisan, $35, 2004). The twisted ring looks like Queen Esther's crown and the onion and poppy seed filling honors the queen's bravery and piety. While in King Ahasuerus' palace, Esther observed the rules of kashrut by eating only vegetables, nuts and seeds. The dramatic ring makes for a pretty centerpiece for a Sunday brunch."-- Milwaukee Journal Sentinal March 16, 2005.

Posted by Nancy Berry

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A