Braided Easter Bread
2 pkgs active dry yeast
½ cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 ½ cups milk (110-115 degrees
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 tblsp salt
7 to 7 ½ cups flour
Optional: 1 egg yolk & sesame seeds
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Pour in a large bowl and add milk, sugar, butter, salt, eggs and 3 ½ cups of the flour. Mix well.
Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 6-8 minutes).
Place in greased bowl, turn once to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours) Punch down, cover and let rise until doubled again (about 30 minutes).
Divide into six even portions. On floured surface, shape each into a 14" long rope.
For each loaf, braid three ropes together on a greased baking sheet, pinch ends to seal.
Cover and let rise until doubled (50-60 minutes). Beat an egg yolk with 2 tblsp of water, brush over loaves. If desired, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes. Transfer loaves to wire rack to cool. Makes 2 loaves.
Pairs Well With
Just before you put the bread in the oven, push 3-4 colored Easter eggs (hard boiled) down into the dough on top of each loaf.