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overhead shot of two loaves of braided Easter bread on a cooling rack
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4.54 from 13 votes

Braided Easter Bread

This Easter Bread is easier to make than it looks and it's the perfect addition to Easter supper! This tasty loaf is ideal for bread puddings and simply delicious served with butter and jam.
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Rising time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: European
Keyword: bread recipe, easter bread
Servings: 24
Calories: 236kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup water lukewarm
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk warmed to 110F°
  • 1 cup butter unsalted, melted
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or as needed
  • 1 egg beaten, for egg wash
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seeds

Instructions

  • Prep the yeast: Add the yeast, 1/2 cup of water, and 2 tsp of the sugar to the bowl of your mixer, stir and let it sit for 5 minutes until the yeast starts to activate and foam.
  • Make the dough: Add the remaining sugar, milk, melted butter, eggs, salt and 6 cups of the flour. Use the dough hook to mix on low speed, until the dough basically comes clean from the side of the bowl. Add the remaining flour as needed. I used the full 6 1/2 cups of flour. The dough should be sticky but it should come clean from the side of the bowl. Make sure to mix for about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • First Rise: Spray a large bowl with cooking spray, place the dough in the bowl and spray the dough itself with a bit of cooking spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free environment until doubled in size, about 40 minutes to an hour. Once doubled in size, punch it down to release some of the air out.
  • Shape into loaves: Divide the dough in half. I prefer to braid these loaves, but you can also just roll out each piece of dough into a loaf and place it into greased loaf pans. I prefer to do a 3 strand braid. To do so cut each half into 3 pieces, and roll each piece into long strips about a foot long. Braid and repeat with remaining dough.
  • Preheat oven: Preheat the oven to 350 F°.
  • Second rise: You can either place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or if you have 12-inch loaf pans, grease them well with cooking spray and place the loaves in them. Let them rise a second time until doubled in size in a warm, draft-free environment. Should take about 30 minutes.
  • Bake: Brush the loaves with the egg wash all over. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Bake the bread for 30 minutes or until golden brown. If using loaf pans, let them cool for 10 minutes in the pans before transferring them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Notes

  1. This recipe yields 2 loaves.
  2. Nutritional information is per slice and assumes 12 slices per loaf.
  3. Please note that this dough is very soft and a bit sticky. If you find that your dough is too wet add some more flour, a little bit at a time. 
  4. Always check the expiration date on your yeast and make sure it hasn't expired. All your yeast products whether it’s in a jar or a package should be stamped with a “Best if Used by” date. Always make sure you check this date, even when you purchase the yeast, who knows it could have been on the shelf past its expiry date.
  5. To keep your yeast fresh and longer lasting, unopened yeast packages or jars should be stored in a cool or dry place such as your cupboard. However, you can also store your yeast in the fridge or freezer. If you do store it in the freezer and need to use yeast for your baking, make sure you take out the amount you need and let it sit at room temperature for at least half hour before using.
  6. Once your yeast package or jar has been opened, you must refrigerate the yeast or freeze it in an airtight container.
  7. One thing to remember about your yeast, is that it is a living organism and over time it will lose activity, even if you’ve never opened the jar or package. So if you don’t bake often, buy the smaller yeast packages rather than a big jar of yeast.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 236kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 169mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 319IU | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2mg