Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Bread.....An Easter Tradition!

It's Good Friday, and I've been busy preparing for our Easter feast!  This year I'm cooking Lasagna, with a big pot of sauce, meatballs, sausage, and a most delicious salad for our dinner, and of course my Ricotta Rice Pie for dessert.  I usually serve a baked ham, but this year I need our dinner to be easy, since I'll be singing in our church choir.  We have to be in church early, and stay for both services.  Everyone in my family loves Lasagna anyway!

I love traditions, and baking Easter Bread is one of them.  I started baking this bread the first year my baby girl, Becca was born. We always had traditions while growing up, and I want my children to learn to love them as well.  This bread is so easy, and if you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer, it's even easier!  Make this Easter Bread, have a piece toasted with butter for your Easter "Resurrection Day" breakfast, you and your family will love it! 

Have a most blessed and wonderful Easter!

Easter Bread

1 cup warm milk (105 - 115)
1 pkg active dry yeast
2 TBS Sugar

Heat the milk to 105 - 110 degrees,  Let the milk cool or if it's too hot it will kill the yeast. In a large bowl add the yeast, milk and 2 TBS sugar, mix with a fork, and let the yeast get all bubbly.

In your Kitchen Aid mixer, or a big bowl, add the following ingredients:

5 cups flour
1 cup butter melted COOLED butter
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp grated Lemon Zest
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Using the dough hook, or your hands, give it a whirl, then add the milk- yeast mixture.  Turn on the mixer and let the dough hook knead the dough, then add another cup of flour, continue kneading, what does the dough look like?  If it looks like a cake batter, you need to add another cup of flour, until all the dough is wrap around the dough hook.  If it's too dry, just add about 2 TBS water. 

Dough wrapped around the dough hook
Take the dough off the hook, knead it a little with your hands, and put it in a well oiled big bowl.  Cover and let it rise in a warm place for 2 hours, until doubled in size.  I like to heat up the oven for about 3 minutes, then turn it off, and put the bowl of dough in the oven, it's a nice warm place for it.

All risen, ready to shape into braids!
While the bread is rising.....Dye 6 - 8 RAW EGGS (3 or 4 for each bread sometimes I do 3, sometimes I do 4!) in whatever Easter colors you want, I like to do this when the kids are dying all the hard boiled eggs, then at the very end they carefully dye the raw eggs for the Easter Bread. 

When it's done rising, punch it down turn it out onto a floured board.  You can make 2 loaves of bread with this recipe.  Divide the dough in half, then divide each into thirds, roll out each piece into a long rope, you are going to start braiding.  Bread the dough, and then pinch the ends together making a circle. Place the dyed eggs into the bread, right before it goes for it's 2nd rise. 

All braided and shaped into a circle!
With the raw eggs waiting for the 2nd rise!
Put on a greased baking sheet, or what I do is put them in greased spring form pans, I like the shape when it's all baked.  Let them rise again for the 2nd rising,  Carefully brush with an egg wash of 1 egg yolk and 1 TBS water.  Bake in a 350 oven for 20 minutes.  Let cool, and ENJOY!

My traditional Easter Bread!  YUMMO!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love Tradition. Brings back lots of good memories.