Bake Your Own Loaf of Easter Bread with Dyed Eggs and Sprinkles
2024/02/23

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This beautiful braided Easter bread is a must-add to any —in fact, it's one of the most significant . Drizzled with a sweet glaze and topped with colorful eggs and sprinkles, it's a delicious dessert a stunning centerpiece all rolled into one! This yeasted bread makes a wonderful because it's not overwhelmingly sweet (and that means you can sneak as much candy from the kids' Easter baskets as you want)! Whether you use a or techniques, colorful eggs make a fun addition to this whimsical loaf. Get the whole family involved in making it—the kids can dye the eggs and drizzle on the icing, and you can handle the rest!

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What is the significance of Easter bread?

This bread is an Easter tradition in many families around the world, and that's because it's rich in symbolism. Easter bread can come in several different shapes. In the Christian faith, round loaves are said to represent the crown of thorns Jesus wore when he was crucified, while braided beauties like this can represent the Holy Trinity since braids join three separate pieces. The eggs also have significance—they represent rebirth and renewal. 

What's in Easter bread?

Similar to challah, Easter bread is made from an enriched dough, which means it includes richer ingredients like butter, milk, and sugar.

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Along with adding flavor to the Easter bread, these ingredients make it extra tender and soft. Easter bread also has one ingredient that other enriched breads don't: whole eggs that are tucked into the braided loaf!

Can you make Easter bread ahead of time?

Easter bread is best the day it's eaten, but you can make it a day ahead of time, just wait until the morning you plan to serve it to drizzle on the icing. If you do make it ahead, wrap the loaf tightly with plastic wrap and store it on your countertop overnight. You'll only want to store it at room temperature if you leave out the dyed eggs or remove them, though.

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If you'd like to keep the eggs in the bread, the loaf should be stored in the refrigerator. 

Can you eat the eggs on the top of the Easter bread?

Yes, you eat the eggs that are baked on the top of the Easter bread. For this recipe, you dye raw eggs and then tuck them into the dough; they'll bake to a nice soft-set in the oven. You can also use dyed in this recipe, but they'll be a bit overcooked after baking. Regardless, make sure the dyed eggs are dry and at room temperature before baking to help keep the dye from bleeding onto the bread. Don't worry, some bleeding is kind of inevitable, but you can cover that part with glaze and lots of sprinkles!

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What's the secret to a beautiful Easter bread?

The secret to a beautiful Easter bread is to respect the yeast! Many folks are intimidated by yeasted breads, but they're really very easy to make. The most important thing is to make sure that the water and milk aren't too hot, because high heat can kill the yeast. Aim for around 110°; it's well in the safe zone, but warm enough to get that yeast activated and bubbly, guaranteeing a nice rise. For a confidence boost, check the temperature of your liquids using an .

1/4 c.

warm water (about 110°F)

1 tbsp.

active dry yeast (from 2 1/4-oz. packets)

3/4 c.

warm milk (about 110°F)

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1/2 c.

granulated sugar

6 tbsp.

unsalted butter, melted

3

large eggs, divided

4 1/2 c.

all-purpose flour, plus more for the surface

2 1/2 tsp.

salt

Nonstick cooking spray

4

dyed uncooked eggs, at room temperature (optional)

1 c.

powdered sugar

2 tbsp.

whole milk, plus more as needed

Rainbow sprinkles, for topping (optional)

Step  1 In a small bowl, stir together the water and the yeast. Let the mixture stand until it is foamy, about 5 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast mixture, milk, sugar, butter, and 2 of the eggs, beaten. Beat on medium-low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.

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Add the flour and salt and mix with a spatula until a shaggy dough forms. Return the bowl to the mixer; increase the speed to medium and beat until the dough is smooth, elastic, and tacky, about 5 minutes.  Step  2 Transfer the dough to a large bowl lightly greased with nonstick cooking spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at warm room temperature until it is doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Step  3 Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 3 equal portions (about 12 ounces each). Roll each of the portions into an 18- to 20-inch long rope. Braid the ropes together, pinching the ends to seal and tucking them underneath.

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Transfer the braid to a parchment-lined baking sheet. If you like, tuck dyed eggs into the braid, spacing them evenly apart. Cover the loaf loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise at warm room temperature until it has puffed, 30 to 45 minutes.  Step  4 During the last 30 minutes of proofing, preheat the oven to 350°F. Uncover the loaf and brush it lightly with the remaining beaten egg. Bake the loaf until it is golden brown, 28 to 32 minutes. Slide the loaf and the parchment paper onto a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.  Step  5 In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk until smooth. (Add a touch more milk, if needed to make a smooth, pourable glaze). Drizzle the glaze over the cooled loaf and decorate with sprinkles, if you like.

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