Braided Easter Bread

I love everything about spring. I look forward to the sound of the birds in the morning, the buds on the trees, vibrant flowers blooming, and longer days. Its a season of “new”, and it always carries that feeling for me.

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Spring for my husband, is, well….Easter Bread. And I have to admit, its something I love about him. I love to create and make, and he loves to eat. He appreciates the extra effort I put into using real ingredients, and learned to love me for the health fanatic that I have become.  What can I say, we’re made for each other.

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About a month before Easter, he starts asking “are you going to make Easter Bread this year?” He knows he can only get it once a year, and he wouldnt take a chance on me forgetting.  I get it, who wouldnt like a lightly sweet bread with hints of orange, vanilla, and cardamom?

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A treat like this makes Easter special. Once you make it for the first time, its sure to become a tradition.

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easter9Braided Easter Bread

  • 1 packet yeast or 2 1/4 tsp
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 5-5 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 tbs butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp real vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom (this is a favorite spice of mine, if you don’t have it you can get it here )
  • 3 eggs + the yolk of a 4th egg but reserving white of 4th egg
  • zest of one orange

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • In a large mixing bowl place yeast and warm water. Whisk together and let set for a couple minutes until its frothy. (If using dry yeast add a little sugar to activate)
  • In a saucepan, warm milk and butter over low heat.
  • When butter is melted, remove from heat and let cool a little ( you want this to be warm not hot)
  • When milk, butter mix is warm, whisk into yeast mix.
  • Add sugar, eggs plus the one egg yolk, salt, vanilla, orange zest, and cardamom.
  • With a wooden spoon, add flour one cup at a time, stirring until dough starts to look more dry and less wet looking.
  • When dough is mixed well, cover and let set in a warm part of your kitchen until it has doubled in size.
  • Line a baking sheet ( this is my favorite toxic free cookie sheet) with parchment paper and set aside.
  • When dough is ready, turn onto a floured surface and knead for about 3-5 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic, not sticky.
  • With a dough scraper or knife. cut dough into 3 even pieces.
  • Roll each section out into 18-20 inch ropes.
  • After ropes are made, pinch together one end and carefully braid.
  • Once you braid, form into a circle and pinch the ends together. You can stretch the ring out from the middle to make a bigger hole if you want.
  • Transfer to lined cookie sheet.
  • Add a tsp of water to reserved egg white and brush bread with egg wash using a pastry brush.
  • Let rise for about a 1/2 hour depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • Enjoy

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