Braided Easter Bread

Enjoy a colorful piece of this traditional Easter bread.

Becky Low shares a creative way to make braided bread.
Braided Easter Bread
7 eggs Easter egg dye*
¾ cup milk (whole milk preferred)
1 package active dry yeast (skimpy 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup sugar
¼ cup butter, softened or partially melted
1 teaspoon lemon extract and zest of 1 lemon), or ground
3½ – 4 cups flour (approximately)
vegetable oil
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
Cupcake candy sprinkles

Hard boil 5 eggs, leave shells intact, dye eggs according to package directions; let stand until completely dry.*

Warm milk to lukewarm (temperature of a baby’s bottle); add yeast and 1-teaspoon sugar, stir to dissolve

In electric mixer bowl beat together milk, 2 raw eggs, salt, sugar, butter, flavoring (lemon,cardamom or anise) and 1 cup flour until smooth. Using a dough hook (or by hand) stir in enough more flour to make a soft dough; knead until smooth and elastic, 5-10 minutes (NOTE: If kneading dough by hand, stir in part of the remaining flour using a spoon, then turn dough out on a floured surface to knead in remaining flour). Place dough in a clean bowl sprayed with non-stick spray; cover with a clean dishtowel or loosely with plastic wrap; place in warm place to raise until double in bulk (1-2 hours).

Punch dough down, or knead out excess air. Divide dough into 2 equal parts; on a greased surface roll each part into 24-inch rope; loosely twist the ropes into a circle and place on greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Pinch ends together to complete a ring. Lightly coat each egg (raw or hard boiled) with vegetable oil; tuck eggs into the twist. Cover with a towel; place in a warm place to raise 20-25 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove cover and bake bread 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.Using a spoon, carefully remove eggs from bread; set aside. Mix together powdered sugar with 1-tablespoon milk; brush warm bread with glaze and sprinkle with candies. When glaze has set, replace dyed Easter eggs.

Easter Bread is fun and pretty tradition. Makes 1-loaf and will serve approximately 8

* For this recipe the eggs may be hard boiled and dyed before baking, or place raw eggs in the braid and cook them along with the bread. To color eggs after baking, carefully loosen and remove eggs from the baked braid with a spoon; clean as needed, dye according to package directions and return dyed eggs to the braid prior to serving. NOTE: dying eggs before baking bread may create a “stained” look around the egg; also, 30 minutes baking raw eggs will produce a soft cooked egg. My preferred method is hard cook eggs, remove and color after baking.

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