Braided Easter Breads

April 20, 2011

I know you’ll love this special Easter treat!

Braided Easter Egg Breads

Makes 4
1package active dried yeast
½ cup warm water (110F)
½ cup warm low fat milk (110F)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
12 eggs
4 ½ to 5 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt

Dissolve the yeast in the water in a stand mixer or large bowl. Let the mixture proof for about 5 minutes. Small clusters of chalky-looking bubbles should appear on the surface. Pour in the milk. With a fork, beat 3 of the eggs in a small bowl. Set aside.

On low speed or by hand mix in the butter, then the eggs and sugar until the mixture is well blended.

Add three cups of the flour along with the salt and beat on medium speed or mix by hand. The mixture will be soupy. Begin adding enough of the remaining flour to make a soft but not sticky dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead it for 3 to 4 minutes, until a smooth ball of dough forms. Let the dough rest on the work surface for 10 minutes, covered with a towel or inverted bowl. Knead the dough again for 5 minutes, until smooth and no longer sticky.

Lightly spray a large bowl with cooking oil spray or lightly coat with butter. Gather up the dough, place it in the bowl, and turn to coat in the butter or oil.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

When the dough has risen to approximately two times its size, punch it dowm and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece under the palms of your hands on a lightly floured surface until it is an 18 inch long rope.. Braid two ropes together and close the ends to form a circle. Place the braids on parchment lined baking sheets.Tuck two eggs into each braided bread, pushing them securely down into the dough.

Cover and let rise until double.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Beat the remaining egg with a fork and brush the tops of each bread. Bake for 35-40minutes or until golden brown. Cool on racks.

For a finishing touch glaze the breads with confectioners icing and sprinkle with colored sugar.

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