Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Italian Easter Bread

A fun Easter bread shaped like a wreath that we have every year! I used a recipe adapted from Sweet Kat's blog this year. Enjoy!

1 pkg active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 eggs, room temp
2/3 cup granulated sugar
8 tsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup warm milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
6 whole uncooked eggs, colored if desired

1. In a small cup, combine the yeast with the warm water. Stir to dissolve. Let stand until activated, about 5 minutes. (It should be dissolved completly.)

2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until blended. Add in the sugar.

3. Mix in the butter, milk, and vanilla.

4. Combine with the yeast mixture.

5. Add flour and salt. Stir until a soft ball forms. (Dough will still be very sticky)

6. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or two until very smooth.

7. Ball the dough and place in a buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 ½ hours.

8. Punch down the dough and cut into 4 pieces. Roll out each piece into a rope about 20 inches long. Repeat with another piece of dough. Lay two ropes side by side and loosely braid them together.

9. Lift the braid onto the prepared baking sheet and bring the ends together to form a ring. Pinch the ends to seal. Take 3 eggs and place between bread ropes.

10. Repeat with the remaining dough and eggs to make a second bread wreath. Cover the wreaths with plastic wrap and let rise for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

11. Brush with egg wash. Scatter the candy sprinkles. Bake the loaves for about 30 minutes on 350, or until golden brown. Let cool on baking racks.

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