Braided Easter Bread

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  • 2 pkgs. dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 soft-boiled, dyed eggs (nontoxic dyes only)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Directions

    In large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Meanwhile, melt butter in saucepan, add milk and heat until just warm. Pour mixture into bowl with yeast. Add sugar, eggs and salt, and stir well. Mix in flour, one cup at a time, until soft dough is formed. Turn dough onto floured surface, adding more flour if dough is too sticky to handle. Knead until it becomes elastic. Place it in lightly oiled bowl, cover, and set in warm, draft-free area until doubled in size (about 1 hour). Punch down dough, divide into three equal parts and roll each piece into a 20-inch-long strand. Lay strands side by side and gently braid them. (To avoid tearing dough, braid from the middle out to an end; repeat with the other side.) Place woven dough in a wreath shape on greased cookie sheet, tucking ends under. Sink eggs into the dough. Cover and let rise until double in size. Beat 1 egg with 1 teaspoon water and brush the wash over dough. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
    Serving this classic bread on Easter is a wonderful way to start an annual tradition.

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