Italian Easter BreadUser Submitted Recipe
1 package Rapid Rise (instant) yeast (about 2-1/4 teaspoons)
1.25 cups milk
pinch of salt
1/3 cup butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
3.5 cups flour (approximate)
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
6 dyed Easter eggs
sprinkles or decorative sugar
In a small saucepan, warm the milk and butter together, just till butter melts. In a large mixer bowl, combine yeast, salt, eggs and sugar. Add the warm milk (not hot)and butter. Add about half the flour and beat until smooth with dough hook. Slowly add the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Don't worry about how much flour it ends up being, just keep adding until the dough is not sticky anymore. Knead until smooth with either dough hook attachment or turn out on floured board and knead. Place in a greased bowl and cover. Place a pan of boiling water on the bottom rack of the oven and place the bowl with the dough on an upper rack. Let the dough rise in the oven until doubled, about 1 hour and 30 mins.
Punch dough down, divide into 2 pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1 inch thick rope about 24 inches long. Take the 2 piece and twist into a braid. Pinch the ends and loop into a circle.
Place on a baking sheet and cover. Place the formed braid into the oven with another pan of boiling water and let rise until double, about 1 hour and 30 mins.
Brush each bread with beaten egg wash. Put on the sprinkles or pearl sugar. In the middle of each twist, gently place a colored egg, making an indentation with the egg. Eggs do not need to be cooked as they will cook when the bread is baked.
Bake at 350 degrees until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool on rack.