A tradition in our home every Easter was to bake Easter bread. It is an easy recipe, but it is rather time-consuming. I use my Cuisinart food processor to mix and knead the dough, which made things a lot quicker and easier. This delicious sweet bread would be made into loaves, or bunny rabbits, individual little loaves,and even braided into baskets.
The true Italian Easter bread would have dyed eggs set in the braid. I found that when that method is used the dough sticks to the eggs after baking,making slicing difficult. However, when baked with dyed eggs it is very decorative and makes wonderful gifts for Easter.
This recipe is from my sister,Natalie, who makes this bread every Easter for her family. Her two sons, Richard and Robert, love it so much and wonder why they couldn’t have this bread more than once a year. Well, nephews, it’s all in the tradition!
- 2 3/4 – 3/ 1/4 cups unbleached flour
- 1/3 cups sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 pkg yeast
- 2/3 cups milk
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 eggs
- 5 uncooked dyed eggs (optional)
Using the dough blade in food processor pulse a few times, 1 cup of flour, salt, sugar and undissolved yeast. Heat milk and butter (120-130°). With blade spinning, slowly add milk mixture to dry ingredients, mix 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
Beat 2 eggs and add to processor along with 1/2 cup of flour. Process for 2 minutes. Gradually add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time while processing until flour forms into a ball. Continue processing to knead the dough for 5 minutes. Turn onto a floured board and knead for one minute. Set dough into a greased bowl, turning over to grease the dough. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place free from draft about 1 hour.
Punch dough down and turn onto a floured board. Divide in half. Roll each piece of dough into 24″ rope on board or hold dough length wise and roll and stretch dough between the palms of your hand. Twist ropes together loosely, form into a ring and pinch ends together. (This is when you can slide 5 uncooked colored eggs between the braids of the dough). Preheat oven to 350°.
Place loaf on a buttered baking sheet and cover loosely until nearly doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Brush the loaf with an egg wash or melted butter (or use cream). Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes until golden.
- Dried fruit could be mixed into the dough after kneading.
- Keep baked bread wrapped airtight. Do not refrigerate!
- It is delicious toasted with butter.