This beautiful braided Easter bread is a staple on any Easter menu – and in many homes it already is! In fact, it is one of the most important traditional Easter foods in the world. Drizzled with sweet icing and topped with colored eggs and sprinkles, it’s a delicious dessert and a stunning centerpiece all in one! This yeast bread makes a wonderful Easter dessert because it’s not overly sweet (and that means you can slip as many sweets as you want into your kids’ Easter baskets)! Whether you use a store-bought egg dyeing kit or all-natural egg dyeing techniques, colored eggs make a fun addition to this whimsical bread.
What is Easter bread made of?
Similar to challah, Easter bread uses enriched dough, which means it includes richer ingredients like butter, milk, and sugar. Besides adding flavor to Easter bread, these ingredients make it extra tender and chewy. The Easter bread also contains an ingredient that other enriched breads do not have: whole eggs that are slipped into the braided bread!
Can you eat the eggs on top of the Easter bread?
Yes you can eat the eggs that are cooked on top of the Easter bread, but it is not necessary. This recipe calls for dyeing raw eggs, then inserting them into the batter; they’ll bake to a nice soft-set in the oven. You can also use dyed hard-boiled eggs in this recipe, but they will be a bit overcooked after baking. Either way, make sure the dyed eggs are dry and at room temperature before baking to help reduce dye bleeding onto the bread. Don’t worry, it’s kind of unavoidable, but you can cover it with frosting and lots of sprinkles!
What is the secret of a beautiful Easter bread?
The secret of a beautiful Easter bread is to respect the sourdough! A lot of people are intimidated by yeast breads, but they’re really, really easy to make. The most important thing is to make sure that the water and milk are not too hot, because high heat is bad for the yeast! Aim for around 110°; it’s well in the safe zone, but warm enough for this yeast to be activated and bubbly, guaranteeing a nice rise. For a confidence boost, check the temperature of your liquids with an instant-read thermometer.
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10 – 12
lukewarm water (about 110°)
active dry yeast (from 2 sachets 1/4 oz)
lukewarm milk (around 110°)
unsalted butter, melted
all-purpose flour, plus more for the surface
dyed raw eggs, at room temperature (optional)
Rainbow sprinkles, for garnish (optional)
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- Combine water and yeast in a small bowl. Let mixture stand until frothy, about 5 minutes. Combine yeast, milk, sugar, butter and 2 beaten eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Beat on medium-low speed until well blended, about 30 seconds. Add the flour and salt and mix with a spatula until a fluffy dough forms. Return bowl to blender; increase speed to medium and beat until smooth, elastic and sticky, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a large bowl lightly greased with nonstick cooking spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at warm room temperature until the dough has doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 3 equal portions (about 12 ounces each). Roll each of the portions into a rope 18 to 20 inches long. Braid the cords together, pinching the ends to seal and tucking them underneath. Transfer the braid to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If desired, place the dyed eggs in the braid, spacing them evenly. Cover bread loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at warm room temperature until puffed, 30 to 45 minutes.
- During the last 30 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 350°. Uncover the bread and brush it lightly with the remaining beaten egg. Bake bread until golden brown, 28 to 32 minutes. Slide bread and parchment onto wire rack to cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Whisk together powdered sugar and milk until smooth in medium bowl. (Add a little more milk, if necessary). Drizzle frosting over cooled bread and garnish with sprinkles, if desired.
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