Easter bread is fluffy, sweet, and almost too cute to eat! This festive bread is sure to be a hit with its soft, tender texture and colorful presentation!
Prep Time20 minutesmins
Cook Time25 minutesmins
Rise Time1 hourhr30 minutesmins
Total Time2 hourshrs15 minutesmins
Author: Alyssa Rivers
1Packet Active Dry Yeast
Zest of 1 Lemon
3 to 3 1/2CupsAll-Purpose Flour
3 to 4Dyed EggsUncooked
1Egg Yolkfor egg wash
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, yeast, lemon zest, salt and 3 cups of flour. In a saucepan, or in the microwave, gently heat the milk and butter to about 115°. Add the milk to the dry ingredients. Use a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Add in the beaten eggs and mix on medium-high for 2 minutes, being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. If the dough is still very sticky, add the remaining ½ cup of flour. The dough should be soft and only slightly sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Alternatively, you can use the dough hook attachment and knead on low speed for 6-8 minutes. Shape the dough into a round ball and place in a large, greased bowl, turning the dough in it to coat the dough in grease. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, dye 3-4 uncooked eggs your chosen colors. Let dry completely. No need to hard boil the eggs, they will cook as the bread bakes.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into thirds and roll each portion out into a 24-inch rope. Place the ropes of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and braid in a traditional 3-strand braid. Form a circle with the braided dough and pinch the ends together.
Very lightly coat the colored eggs with oil and arrange them on top of the braid. Don’t press the eggs into the dough too much as they will sink and settle some as the bread bakes.
Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot for at least 30 minutes, or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°.
Make the egg wash by mixing 1 egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of water. When it has finished rising, brush the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with rainbow nonpareil sprinkles, if desired. Avoid getting the egg wash on the colored eggs.
Bake for 25 minutes until the crust is a deep golden brown. The internal temp should be 190°. Let cool on a cooling rack before serving.