Sweet Braided Easter Bread
Delicious egg bread made with eggs, orange zest, and anise egg wash for an "eggstra" special flavor! A slightly sweet bread good by itself or toasted, especially with coffee or tea. You can even use it for French toast or bread pudding. I make this every year for my family at Easter. A special treat they look forward to once a year! The colored eggs are great fun too and add to your holiday decor.
- Serves: 1 person
- 1¼ cups whole milk (heated to 95 degrees F/35 degrees C)
- ⅓cup vegetable oil
- ½teaspoon salt
- 1teaspoon orange extract
- 3eggs, at room temperature, divided
- ⅔cup white sugar
- 3tablespoons grated orange zest
- 4cups all-purpose flour, or more as needed
- 4teaspoons active dry yeast
- 4whole eggs
- 2tablespoons water
- 2tablespoons anise extract
- assorted food coloring
- 1teaspoon anisette liqueur
Step 1Combine milk, oil, salt, orange extract, 2 eggs at room temperature, sugar, orange zest, 4 cups of flour, and yeast in a bread machine, in that order. Set to Dough cycle and start the machine; be sure to peek inside while dough is mixing and add additional flour as needed to create a soft, but not wet, dough.
Step 2Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Step 3Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a rapid simmer and add 4 whole eggs to soft boil. Continue to simmer for 6 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water to cool quickly.
Step 4Punch risen dough down and turn onto a floured surface. Divide into 3 even pieces. Roll each piece to form about a 1 1/2-inch thick rope that is 12 inches long. Take the pieces and braid them together, pinching the ends. Loop into a circle and pinch the ends to close. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Align boiled eggs evenly about the braid and push in gently, about 1/3 of the way down. Cover and let rise again, about 1 hour.
Step 5Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Step 6Combine remaining room temperature egg, 2 tablespoons water, and anise extract in a bowl for egg wash. Brush braid with the egg wash, being careful not to get any on your boiled eggs or while baking they will have cooked wash on them and won't dye nicely.
Step 7Bake in the preheated oven, switching between another parchment-lined baking sheet every 10 minutes throughout baking time to prevent the bottom from getting too dark, until browned, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool thoroughly, 20 to 30 minutes.
Step 8Paint your eggs on the bread with liquid food dye. Be careful not to drip on the bread. Let dry, about 10 minutes. Brush bread with anisette liqueur and let dry before serving, about 5 minutes more.