Baking & Desserts

Sweet Braided Easter Bread Recipe

"Delicious egg bread made with eggs, orange zest, and anise egg wash for an "eggstra" special flavor! A slightly sweet bread good by itself or toasted, especially with coffee or tea. You can even use it for French toast or bread pudding. I make this every year for my family at Easter. A special treat they look forward to once a year! The colored eggs are great fun too and add to your holiday decor."

Ingredients

  • Adjust
  • US
  • Metric
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk (heated to 95 degrees F/35 degrees C)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature, divided
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, or more as needed
  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons anise extract
  • assorted food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon anisette liqueur (optional)
  • Directions

  • Prep
  • Cook
  • Ready In
    1. Combine milk, oil, salt, orange extract, 2 eggs at room temperature, sugar, orange zest, 4 cups of flour, and yeast in a bread machine, in that order. Set to Dough cycle and start the machine; be sure to peek inside while dough is mixing and add additional flour as needed to create a soft, but not wet, dough.
    2. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
    3. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a rapid simmer and add 4 whole eggs to soft boil. Continue to simmer for 6 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water to cool quickly.
    4. Punch risen dough down and turn onto a floured surface. Divide into 3 even pieces. Roll each piece to form about a 1 1/2-inch thick rope that is 12 inches long. Take the pieces and braid them together, pinching the ends. Loop into a circle and pinch the ends to close. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Align boiled eggs evenly about the braid and push in gently, about 1/3 of the way down. Cover and let rise again, about 1 hour.
    5. Combine remaining room temperature egg, 2 tablespoons water, and anise extract in a bowl for egg wash. Brush braid with the egg wash, being careful not to get any on your boiled eggs or while baking they will have cooked wash on them and won't dye nicely.
    6. Bake in the preheated oven, switching between another parchment-lined baking sheet every 10 minutes throughout baking time to prevent the bottom from getting too dark, until browned, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool thoroughly, 20 to 30 minutes.
    7. Paint your eggs on the bread with liquid food dye. Be careful not to drip on the bread. Let dry, about 10 minutes. Brush bread with anisette liqueur and let dry before serving, about 5 minutes more.

    Footnotes

    • Cook’s Notes:
    • Add ingredients as recommended by your individual bread machine instructions.
    • This can also be made into 2 smaller loaves.
    • You can use melted butter instead of vegetable oil. You can use Sambuca or Ouzo for the anisette liqueur.
    • Remember, the eggs are edible, but if you are not eating them right away, then remove them from the bread and store them in the refrigerator.
    • You can make this bread up to the point of braiding, adding eggs, and letting rise a day ahead. Cover and keep in the refrigerator, removing an hour before cooking.

    Nutrition Facts

    Per Serving: 315 calories;10.1 g fat;45.3 g carbohydrates;9.1 g protein;105 mg cholesterol;148 mg sodium.Full nutrition
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