- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for bowl and baking sheet
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 (1/4-ounce) package active-dry yeast
- 1/3 cup warm (110 degrees) water
- 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- Sanding sugar, for garnish
In a small saucepan, combine evaporated milk, butter, and 1/3 cup granulated sugar over medium heat until incorporated; remove from heat. Let cool slightly, and stir in vanilla; set aside.
Stir 1 tablespoon granulated sugar into warm water. Add yeast, and set aside until mixture begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, butter a large bowl; set aside.
Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together eggs and milk mixture on medium speed; add yeast mixture. Mix until combined. Gradually add flour, beating until fully incorporated.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead until smooth. Place in prepared bowl, turning several times to coat. Let rise, covered with wax paper and a clean damp towel, in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Once dough has doubled, punch down with your fist, and knead a few times in the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface; and divide evenly into six pieces. Roll each piece into a log, about 24 inches long. Braid 3 logs together; shape each braid into an oval, pressing the ends together to seal. Transfer to two buttered baking sheets; cover with wax paper, and let sit in a warm place until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once dough has doubled in size, discard wax paper, and bake until just golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar with remaining 1/4 cup milk to form a smooth, thick glaze. Add more sugar or milk, if necessary, for desired consistency. Working quickly, coat cakes with glaze, and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.