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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter Bread

I had to make some Easter bread to talk about the blessing of the food on Holy Saturday for this weeks Life Teen afternoon. So I tried out something new, and am pretty pleased with how it came out! I think I will be making some more of these to go in our basket for the food blessing this weekend.

I found the recipe here, and I love "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day", so I was pretty sure I would love this too.

My only complaint, was that she forgot to list butter in the ingredients, and being the impatient "I know what I'm doing" baker that I am, just browsed the written directions, noted that it was "all of the ingredients but the flour" that needed to be mixed first, and completely missed that butter was listed in the directions, but not the ingredients list. Oops. It still tasted alright, but I am sure would have been a little more moist and tasty with butter added in.

Ingredients for bread dough
  • 1½ cups lukewarm water
  • 1½ tablespoons granulated yeast (1½ packets)
  • 1½ tablespoons salt
  • 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 1/5 cups of melted butter
  • 7½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Ingredients to make Easter bread with dough
  • 1 batch of bread dough (listed above)
  • 4 colored eggs
  • 1 beaten egg for egg wash
  • coarse salt, sprinkles, or colored sugar for garnish
I used a stand mixer, but you could do it by hand if you wanted, it would just take a little more work. Mix the first 6 ingredients (everything but the flour, INCLUDING the butter!)

Add all of the flour at once, and mix until it has all been incorporated. Into the dough. Let rise for 2 hours, or until it has about doubled in size.
After it has risen, dust with flour and divide into 4 approximately 1lb sections of dough. Quickly form into a ball with a gluten cloak (gently stretch the dough from the top around the ball and pinch at the bottom, creating a smooth ball of dough). Let rest for 5 minutes.
Divide each ball into 3 sections, and roll into a snake with your hands. Avoid pulling, but gently stretching is okay if it needs a little extra help. 
Braid the three sections together, joining the beginning and the end.
Place your uncooked, colored egg into the center. Cover with a towel and let rise for 1 hour.
20 minutes before the rise is finished (40 minutes in) preheat your oven to 350 degrees, after these last 20 minutes of rise bread can be put in the oven, even if it has not finished preheating yet. 
After the second rise
Brush dough with the eggwash, and sprinkle with your desired garnish.
Place bread on a pan lined with parchment paper, or directly onto a pizza stone, and bake for 25 minutes. The top of your bread should be golden brown when it is done.

Bread with sprinkles

Bread with salt. You can see I wasn't exactly scientific in my dividing of the bread dough. Oops!
The recipe states that during this time the uncooked egg will cook along with the bread, but mine wasn't quite done. I need to experiment a little more to figure out how to fix that problem without burning the bread.

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