Thursday, March 20, 2008

braided (easter) bread

Last week, the Littlest Carrotstick spent some time examining the March calendar for important holidays like Easter and his birthday. A couple of days later, he asked me when it was going to be Glorious Friday. It took me a while to figure out he meant Good Friday. And since this is Good Food Friday, and Good Friday to boot, I thought I'd share this recipe for Braided Easter Bread with you.
My sister-in-law is the champion of this bread. She kindly brings it to many a family gathering. Though I truly love it, it is also the bane of the low-carb diet. I have NO self-control when this bread is on the buffet.

I haven't actually ever made it myself, but she says not to be intimidated by the braiding. It is really easy. But she is talking to the woman who had to pay someone to braid the Oldest Carrotsticks hair every night of her dance performances this spring. Pathetic, but true.

Braided Easter Bread
2 packages dry yeast
½ c warm water
½ c butter
3/4 c milk
½ c sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ tsp salt
5 c all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 tsp water
In large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan, add milk, and heat until just warm. Pour mixture into bowl with yeast. Add sugar, eggs, and salt and stir well.
Mix in flour, one cup at a time, until a soft dough is formed. Turn dough onto a floured surface, adding flour if the dough is too sticky to handle. Knead until elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and set in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size (about one hour).
Punch down the dough. Divide it into three equal parts and roll each piece into a 20-inch-long strand. Lay the strands side by side and gently braid them. (To avoid tearing the dough, braid from the middle out to an end; repeat with the other side). Place the woven dough on greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise until double in size.
Beat 1 egg with 1 teaspoon water and brush the wash over dough. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes one large loaf.

Traditionally, the bread is braided into a wreath shape and has Easter Eggs shoved into the top. Why? I don't know. Everyone knows Easter eggs are just for looks. Nobody really wants to eat them.
Don't wait for another Easter (or Glorious Friday) to roll around before you try this yummy bread!

1 comment:

Kate said...

the bread looks great! But not being able to braid oldest carrot sticks hair....the shame. Do I need to loan you my cabbage patch kid with wire hair so you can learn (that was how I learned)?