1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup warm milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
4 cups walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon or cocoa
2 tablespoons cognac
1/3 cup hot milk
1 whole egg, beaten
Pour 1/3 cup of the warm milk in a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast and the pinch
over the surface of the milk. Stir to dissolve and let stand at room temperature
foamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl using a wooden spoon or in the work
bowl of a
heavy duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the
sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and beat vigorously for 1 minute. Beat in the
the remaining 2/3 cup milk, the lemon zest, salt, and 1 cup of the flour. Beat
remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough that just clears the
sides of the bowl
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead
about 3 minutes, dusting with flour only 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to
sticking. The dough will be very soft but not sticky.
Place the dough in a greased
Turn once to coat the top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at
temperature for 4 to 6 hours, deflating once or twice, or as long as overnight
Gently deflate the dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured work
and divide into 4 equal portions.
Form each portion into a thick rectangle,
loosely floured parchment paper, cover loosely with a clean tea towel, and let
rest for 30
To make the filling, combine the walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon in a
processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until finely ground. Combine
and milk and, with the motor running, pour the mixture through the feed tube
in a slow,
steady stream, processing until a thick, spreadable paste is formed.
pin on a very lightly floured work surface to minimize sticking, roll or pat
out each dough
portion into a 13-by-7-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick.
Spread the surface
rectangle evenly with one-fourth of the nut paste.
Working with one rectangle
at a time
and starting from a long side, fold over a 2-inch section. Continue to fold
the dough in this
manner to create a flattish oval (rather than round) long log of dough.
the seams and place the dough,
seam side down, on a greased baking sheet, fitting all 4 rolls
horizontally on the pan about 2 inches apart.
Brush with the egg glaze and prick
with a fork. Let rest, uncovered, at room temperature about 20 minutes.
Brush once more with the beaten egg. Place the baking sheet on a rack
in the center
of the oven and bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden and the loaves sound
tapped with your finger.
Let rest on the baking sheet 10 minutes.
Using a large
transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. Cool completely.