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Easter Egg Braided Bread Recipe


Eggs are traditionally used as a symbol of spring and the Easter holiday. 
This delicious egg bread recipe is a variation on a Scandinavian braided bread which features the warm, rich flavors of cardamom and butter. 
My mother and grandmother both baked similar breads that I loved as a child.
But I've kicked it up a notch in the spirit of the Easter holiday and tucked a few eggs into the braid before baking it!


A traditional Scandinavian braided egg bread is normally sprinkled with Swedish pearl sugar (and doesn't have eggs stuck in it!).
But I decided to sprinkle my braid with some pretty pastel sprinkles after brushing it with an egg/milk wash to make it a perfectly beautiful bread to serve for Easter brunch.
In early spring, eggs are usually plentiful, so I have enough on hand to add to the bread dough, to use as a wash for top of the braid, and also to tuck into the bread as it's baking.  

And you don't even have to cook the eggs beforehand. They'll cook while the bread bakes! It's the perfect recipe for a chicken keeper!

Easter Egg Braided Bread

Ingredients
2 cups milk (whole or 2% are both fine)
2/3 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
2 packets of yeast
6 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
Vegetable oil
Topping Ingredients
4-5 fresh eggs, rinsed clean and dried (the more colorful, the better!)
1 egg, whisked
1 Tablespoon milk
2 Tablespoons colorful sprinkles (extra points if they're in cute little mason jars!)


Instructions

In a small saucepan over low heat, pour in milk and sugar and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Add the stick of butter and stir occasionally until the butter melts. 
Take the saucepan off the heat and let cool to room temperature or just a bit warmer. Stir in the yeast and let sit for 5-10 minutes until the yeast starts to foam.
Meanwhile, whisk the flour, cardamom and salt together in a small bowl. 
Once the yeast is foamy, pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the egg. Using the paddle attachment, mix until combined and then start adding the flour mixture. 
Add the flour mixture slowly, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing it to incorporate into the liquid before adding the next 1/2 cup measure. 
Continue to mix until the dough is smooth and shiny. If the dough is too sticky, you can continue to add a bit more flour, a Tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms a ball.
With a pasty brush, brush a large bowl with a light coating of vegetable oil, then transfer your dough ball to the bowl. 
Cover it with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and set in a warm spot to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Once the dough has risen, on a clean surface, divide it into 6 equal portions with a dough cutter and then roll each portion into a rope about 16" long. 
Braid three of the ropes into a braid, then repeat with the remaining three ropes, making two loaves. 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Tuck the braided ends of each loaf under and place each braid on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Let the braids rise for another 30 minutes, then tuck the clean, raw eggs into the braids.
Whisk the Tablespoon of milk into the egg, then brush each loaf with the egg wash. Decorate with the sprinkles, then brush the eggs lightly with the vegetable oil. 

Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes, then cool on racks. Slice the braids so each person gets a slice with an egg in it. 

Wrap any leftovers tightly, refrigerate, and eat within 2-3 days.







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