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. Easter dinner holds many memories for me growing up. I loved waking up to Easter baskets, a beautiful Easter dress, and an Easter service in a small chapel. After church, we would gather around the table for a big Easter dinner and among all the food…. Braided Easter Bread!
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.
About a month before Easter, he starts asking “are you going to make braided Easter Bread this year?” He knows he can only get it once a year, and he wouldn’t take a chance on me forgetting. I get it, who wouldn’t like a lightly sweet bread with hints of orange, vanilla, and cardamom?
A treat like this braided Easter bread makes Easter special. Once you make it for the first time, it’s sure to become a tradition.
Tips for making yeast bread successfully
Yeast bread isn’t hard to make. I’m going to list a few tips to ensure your bread will turn out! Just follow the process and your bread will turn out successfully!
- Make sure your yeast isn’t expired. This may sound silly but if you don’t make bread that often it may have sat longer than you think. You can also keep your yeast refrigerated for longer shelf life.
- Make sure the temperature of your water is not too hot or too cold. If you are judging by the feel of the water it should be on the warmer side of warm. Let the yeast/ water set until foamy.
- After you heat the milk and butter, do not pour the milk/butter mix into the yeast mixture while it is still piping hot. Let it cool slightly to warm before adding it in.
- Find a warm spot in your kitchen for the dough to rise. If your kitchen is on the cooler side find the warmest spot. I like to place my covered dough into the microwave which is positioned over my stove. (Do not turn the microwave on)
- This dough will need to be kneaded. Sprinkle some flour on your countertop, turn the dough on it and sprinkle more flour on the dough. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until the dough isn’t sticky anymore. If the dough is still sticky sprinkle a little more flour and knead the bread dough some more. You want the Easter Bread dough to look like the picture above.
- After you braid your dough you can make the dough into a circle or leave it long and straight!
Other bread and Easter recipes
For other bread recipes check out this 5-minute Crusty Artisan Bread!
Looking for more Easter recipes? Check out these Maple Roasted Carrots!
Braided Easter Bread
- 1 packet yeast or 2 1/4 tsp
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 5-5 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup milk
- 6 tbs butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp real vanilla
- 1 tsp cardamom Buy cardamom here
- 3 eggs
- 1 egg yolk reserve white for the egg wash
- Zest of one orange
- Preheat oven to 375
- In a large mixing bowl place yeast and warm water. Whisk together and let sit for a couple of minutes until its frothy. (If using dry yeast add the sugar to activate.)
- In a saucepan, warm the milk and butter over low heat until butter is melted.
- When butter is melted, remove from heat and let cool a little (you want this to be warm, not hot).
- When the milk, butter mix is warm, whisk into yeast mix.
- Add the 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 the dough starts to look drier.
- When the 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 with parchment paper and set it aside.
- When the 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 (you can dip your fingers in water and wet the bread so it will stick on the ends) and carefully braid.
- Once you braid you can either keep the bread a long braid or 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 the 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 30-35 minutes or until golden on top.
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