10 November, 2021
EASTER BREADPosted in : Bread on by : MikeZ
A recipe from the "Old Country" that every Slovak/Polish Baba would make for Easter Morning. This takes a bit of time but if you love to bake, you'll love these light, lemony loaves. Usually baked on Good Friday so they would be ready for the "Blessing of the Baskets" on Holy Saturday.Difficulty: Expert
Servings 2 Loaves
- 2 Large Mixing Bowls
- Small Sauce Pan
- 2 Small Bowls
- 2 Baking Sheets
- 8 cups AP Flour
- 1 ½ cups Whole Milk
- ½ cups Granulated White Sugar
- 2 Oranges - zested & juiced
- 4 ½ tsp active Dry Yeast - (2 envelopes)
- 1 cup Margarine - melted
- 8 Eggs
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Anise Oil - To use extract, substitute 2 tsp.
- 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter - melted (for brushing)
- 2 cupd Powdered Sugar
- ¼ cup Whole Milk
- Sprinkles - (Optional)
- Place the Flour in a large mixing bowl; set aside.
- Heat the Milk in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it is warm to the touch, but not hot. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the temperature should be 110° to 115°F.
- While the Milk is warming, place the sugar in a small bowl and add the Orange Zest. With your fingertips, rub the Zest into the Sugar until it is completely incorporated and the sugar is moistened.
- Once the Milk reaches the correct temperature, stir in the Sugar mixture, stirring to dissolve the Sugar. Add the Yeast, stir, and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Add the Mil, and Yeast mixture to the Flour and begin to mix it into a dough.
- Add the melted Margarine and continue to mix.
- Add the Orange Juice to the dough and mix to combine.
- In another small bowl, use a fork to lightly beat together the Eggs, Salt, and Anise Oil. Add to the dough and continue mixing.
- Add more Flour to the dough if needed depending on how juicy your Oranges were. Once you have a sticky ball of dough formed, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, adding a small amount of Flour at a time as needed, or until the dough is soft and elastic. It will remain slightly tacky.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning dough to coat, and cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Place in a draft-free area and allow to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Shaping the Bread
- Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and divide in two. Divide each half into two (four pieces total). Work with one pair, and then the other. Roll two pieces of dough into 24-inch long ropes. Loosely twist the ropes together. Transfer the braided rope to one of the prepared baking sheets and bring the ends together to form a ring, twisting and pinching the ends together to seal. Repeat with the remaining two pieces of dough so that you have two circular, braided loaves. Brush the tops of each with the melted Butter, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until nearly doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake one at a time until golden brown on top, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Once the loaves are cooled to room temperature, you can glaze them (if desired). In a small bowl, whisk together the Powdered Sugar and the Milk until smooth. Use a pastry brush to brush the glaze onto the top and sides of the bread, and decorate with Sprinkles.
The bread is best served at room temperature. Wrap leftovers well in plastic wrap and store them at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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