Sunday, March 18, 2012
Braided Easter Egg Bread
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I'll be featuring several Easter breads over the next few weeks, and I thought this would be a good recipe with which to begin the series. It's the easiest of the lot to make and it will be doing double duty as a table prize and centerpiece at an upcoming church luncheon. Those of you who are long-term readers of One Perfect Bite probably remember the Flower Pot Bread that was used in the same way. This year, however, I was asked to find a bread that was edible as well as decorative. I found this recipe at Allrecipes and it was just what I was looking for. Fortunately, this will be a group effort and my responsibility is limited to demonstrating how the bread is made. The real work will be done by a dozen other gals who will actually bake the coffee rings. I don't anticipate there will be any problems if the recipe instructions are followed, but this bread differs from some of the others that are floating around. The eggs that are inserted into the dough are not cooked prior to baking. That means they must be carefully handled when they are dyed. This braid is especially attractive when the eggs are intensely colored, but pale or brightly hued, they must be thoroughly dry before they are inserted into the dough. Moisture will cause them to bleed and spoil the appearance of the bread. Alton Brown has a recipe in which eggs are baked rather than boiled or steamed. I'm including a link to it, here, because it's a technique you might want to use with your Easter eggs. This bread is best served freshly made but it will keep a day or so if you intercept the eggs before serving. Here's the recipe.
Braided Easter Egg Bread...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Allrecipes.com
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2-1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
4 to 5 uncooked eggs, dyed and thoroughly dried
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1) Combine 1 cup flour, sugar,salt and yeast in a large bowl. Mix well.
2) Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan and heat until milk is warm and butter is softened but not melted.
3) Gradually add liquid mixture to flour mixture, stirring constantly. Beat in eggs and 1/2 cup of reserved flour. Add remaining 1 cup flour in two parts, stirring well after each addition. When dough comes together turn onto a floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
4) Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in bowl and turn to coat all surfaces with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
5) Deflate dough and turn it out on a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into two equal size rounds; cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each round into a long rope about 36 inches long and 1-1/2 inches thick. Use ropes to form a loosely braided ring, with spaces to insert eggs. Seal ends of ring and transfer to a lightly buttered baking sheet. Use fingers to slide eggs between braids of dough. Cover loosely with a damp towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
6) Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. When dough has doubled in size, brush with melted butter and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until golden brown. Let sit for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 1 ring.
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