Italian Easter Bread

Makes 6 individual breads

Note: Dye the Easter eggs raw. They cook in the oven

1 1/4 cups milk

1/3 cup butter

1 package Rapid Rise instant yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)

Pinch of salt

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup sugar

About 3 1/2 cups flour

1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Sprinkles or pearl sugar

6 Easter eggs, dyed gold or color of your choice

1. In a small saucepan, warm milk and butter, just until butter melts.

2. In a large mixer bowl, combine yeast, salt, eggs and sugar. Add warm -- not hot -- milk mixture. (If it's too hot, it will kill the yeast.) Add half of the flour; with a dough hook, beat until smooth. Slowly add remaining flour to form a stiff dough, adding flour until the dough is not sticky anymore.

3. Knead until smooth with dough hook or by hand. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.

4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Punch dough down; divide into 12 pieces. Roll each into a rope 1 inch thick and 14 inches long. Twist two together to form a "braid." Pinch ends, loop into a circle and transfer to baking sheet. Repeat to form six rings. Cover and let rise until double in size, 1 hour.


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5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush each bread with beaten egg wash. Sprinkle with pearl sugar or sprinkles. Gently place an Easter egg in the middle of each dough ring, making an indentation with the egg. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool on rack.

-- Elaine McCardel, The Italian Dish, theitaliandishblog.com