Easter isn't complete without a beautiful loaf of Easter Bread. Our recipe is easily adapted to also make Easter Egg Papoose
( individual rolls for your guests) .
A few suggestions to help you make your bread. Begin by dying your UNCOOKED eggs and letting them dry completely-they will cook as the bread bakes. (You can also make either recipe without dying the eggs.)
If you are making the Easter Bread, start by braiding from the center up and then down- you will end up with a more even braid. You can bake the breads on either a greased baking sheet or one lined with parchment.
This recipe yields one round loaf or 6 individual papoose.
½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
¼ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 (0.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
⅔ cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
5 whole eggs, dyed if desired
2 tablespoons butter, melted
In a large bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast; stir well. Combine milk and butter in a small microwave safe container; heat until milk is warm and butter is softened but not melted- 45-60 seconds.
Gradually add the milk and butter to the flour mixture; beating on low speed. Add two eggs and ½ cup flour; beat well. Add the remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, beat at medium high for 5 minutes.If you don't have a stand mixer, combine as above and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough .
For an Easter Bread, divide the dough into three rounds. Cover and let the rounds rest 10 minutes. Roll each round into a long roll about 36 inches long and 1 ½ inches thick. Using the three long pieces of dough, form a loose braid. Place on a baking sheet and shape into a ring leaving spaces for the five colored eggs. Seal the ends of the ring together and use your fingers to slide the eggs between the braids of dough. Cover loosely with a damp towel. Place loaf in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Brush risen loaf with egg wash.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until golden.
For 6 Papoose loaves-divide the risen dough into 6 equal pieces. Let rest 10 minutes. Roll each piece into 12" ropes. Place a rope on the prepared pan and form into a U shape placing the egg in the curve. Twist the remaining dough around the egg to secure. Repeat with remaining five ropes. Cover the papoose with a damp cloth and let rise 20-25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush papoose with egg wash and bake 20-25 minutes until golden and done.