This is a delicious bread recipe that I like to make at other times during the year but it's even more special during Easter when you add the eggs to the braids of dough while it bakes. The bread makes a beautiful presentation if you're giving it away as gifts or to put on your table for Easter dinner.
1 cup warm milk (105 - 115 degrees)
1 pkg active dry yeast
2 TBS Sugar
5 cups flour; more if needed
1 cup butter melted COOLED butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp grated Lemon Zest
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. almond extract
In a small bowl, combine the heated milk with the package of dry yeast and 2 TBS. sugar. Set aside until the mixture is foamy.
In a mixing bowl with the dough hook attached, add 4 cups of the flour along with the remaining ingredients.
Once the yeast mixture has "proofed" add it to the mixing bowl as well and begin to combine everything together.
If the dough becomes too sticky or wet, add more of the remaining flour.
Once the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl and come together, set your kitchen timer for 8 minutes and let the machine "knead" the dough for you.
Remove the dough from the mixing bowl to a floured surfaced and knead by hand for a few minutes.
Place the dough in another clean mixing bowl that has a little bit of oil rubbed over the entire bowl.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel...set aside to rise until doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, dye 3 to 4 eggs...keeping them RAW.
After the dough has doubled, punch it down and transfer to a floured surface.
Divide the dough into two balls and slowly work them into long "loaves."
Braid the two loaves into one loaf and place on a baking tray that is lined with parchment paper.
Insert the RAW eggs into sections of the braided loaf of bread.
Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to double again.
Carefully brush with an egg wash of 1 egg yolk and 1 TBS water.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the bread is golden brown.
***Note: You must use RAW eggs. They will cook in the oven while the bread is cooking.
After the dough has risen once, divide into two balls...
Work the dough into two long strips and begin to braid...
Insert the RAW colored eggs into sections of the braided dough...
Delicious and beautiful...