Monday, April 03, 2023

Traditional Easter Bread

I can remember my Mom making her traditional Easter bread each year when I was growing up.  She would serve it on a long platter surrounded by the brightly colored Easter eggs we dyed the night before.  It was so pretty and such a favorite at our house.  Sweet bread filled with plump raisins warm right out of the oven.  The next morning she was toast it and butter it and sprinkle cinnamon on top! YUM!

Traditional Easter Bread

3/4 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
4 teaspoons of active dry yeast
4 teaspoon sugar
1 large lightly beaten egg
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
9 cups all purpose flour                                 
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract                            
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup golden raisins

Mix together the yeast, 4 teaspoons of sugar, 1 egg, and the warm milk. Set aside in a warm place for about 25 minutes until it starts to bubble .

In a small sauce pan, heat up 1 cup of milk and a 1 cup of sugar, until the milk is warm and the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside. In another small bowl, combine the melted butter and oil. Using a fork, lightly beat the five eggs and add vanilla and set aside. 

Next, in a large bowl, add the warm milk mixture, the butter and oil mixture, eggs, raisins, salt, and grated lemon zest and juice of a lemon and mix until well combined. Then start adding the flour a little at a time until the dough is smooth and sticky. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and rub the oil all over the dough so that it doesn't dry out. Place it in a warm place to rise.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat, and cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Place in a draft-free area and allow to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Once the dough is ready, turn it out onto a clean surface and divide in half. Then divide those two in half and once again so that you have 4 pieces Next roll the 4 pieces of dough into 12-18 inch long ropes and place on pan lined with parchment paper. Now you can braid these braids however you want. 

Brush the top of the braid with melted butter, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until nearly doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Finally brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with colorful Easter candies and bake until golden brown on top, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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