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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Bread

Easter, a time of rebirth, renewal, and sweet breads to remind us of the sweetness of life.
This is one of my favorite sweet breads, easy and so beautifull as a braid to have Easter morning, or to offer as a gift.
The ingredients are basic, except for the anise seeds, which are readily available at most markets.
let's begin:
3 beaten eggs, 1 cup warm milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tsps coarse salt ( or 1 tsp table salt),4 oz melted unsalted butter room temperature, 2 tbsps instant yeast ( rapid rise), 1 tbsp  fresh grated orange zest (peel),1 & 1/2 tsp crushed anise seeds, (use a motar and pestle to crush, coffee or spice grinder,or if you must,buy ground anise seed, it will not have the same rich flavor, but will do)
 In bowl of stand mixer,stir yeast into warm milk,add butter,eggs,orange peel,salt,crushed anise seeds
Stir in sugar
Weigh out 6 cups all purpose flour (27oz) , you might need a bit more or less
Usually you would add the flour as paddle is turning, but it will throw flour everywhere,so  hand mix the flour ( I held back 1 cup and then added as needed) till moistened, then  put bowl onto mixer and continue 
When dough comes together and is not sticky,attach dough hook and knead 6 minutes till smooth
After 6 minutes,I like to hand knead to be sure it is smooth and satiny
The recipe makes 2 loaves,I weighed the dough and then divided into 2 equal parts
Spray oiled the insides of 2 gallon zip bags and placed dough in to rise for 2 hours
After a 2 hour rise,  use one half, divide into 3 equail parts and roll into ropes about 30 " long, if the dough pulls back, cover it with plastic and let it relax 5 minutes, then braid, secure ends together, add 3-4 red dyed hard boiled eggs into braids,  line a baking tray with parchment , lightly coat with spray oil. Place braided ring onto tray.(Which I did not do, and added the eggs after the braid had risen for an hour,as it is in the photo.This deflated the braid slightly so I had to let it rise a bit more.)
After an hour ( plus the goof time) ready to bake, place in a preheated 350 degree oven, bake 30 minutes. Have a couple of tbsp melted butter ready when the bread comes out of the oven.You may also omit the  dyed eggs and serve as an every day bread. It can also be shaped into a boule, long braid, or  loaf. It makes excellent french toast.
Brush the bread with the unsalted melted butter , as soon as it comes out of the oven. Let cool completely on a rack. NOTE the loaf must be refridgerated due to the hard boiled eggs if not to be eaten within 3 hours, place in a large plastic bag or wrap with plastic.. Remove from fridge 1 hour before serving to warm to room temperature .This is delicious toasted!


  1. That is really pretty! Nice job braiding too! I have never used ziplocs for my dough, but I bet it works great for things that go in the fridge. I will try it next time I know something will be put in the fridge.