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Braided Easter Bread

Who wouldn't like a lightly sweet bread with hints of orange, vanilla, and cardamom? A treat like this makes Easter special. Once you make it for the first time, it's sure to become a tradition!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Proof1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: braided Easter bread, braided Easter bread recipe, brioche bread, homemade bread, sweet bread
Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.