Braided Easter Bread
- Cooking Time: 30 minutes
- Servings: 8
- Preparation Time: 5 hours
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 2 to 2 & 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 stick butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 4 whole uncooked eggs, plain or colored
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of lukewarm water. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add remaining water and 1 cup flour. Using an electric mixer, mix in yeast until well blended and smooth. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and place in a warm place to rise, 1 to 2 hours. This mixture should double in bulk.
- In an electric mixer, cream butter. Gradually add sugar and beat until light. Add lemon juice and rind and salt. Add egg.
- Add raised yeast mixture and mix well.
- With a wooden spoon, stir in about 1 to 1 & 1/2 cups of flour. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead to form a soft non-sticky dough. Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
- Punch down the dough with your fist. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a long cylinder about 1 & 1/2 inches thick.
- Loosely twist two pieces of dough together to form a loose braid. Form the braid into a ring shape and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Place uncooked eggs into spaces in braid. Cover with plastic wrap and towel and let rise until doubled in a warm spot, about 40 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and towel.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven. Cool bread in a pan on wire rack. Serve warm or cold. When cool, if desired, frost top of loaf with confectioners' frosting.