Lemony Easter Basket Bread

>> Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Lemony Easter Basket Bread

My mom used to make this bread for Easter dinner nearly every year; I don't know who originally gave it to her. Just a bite of this flaky lemony yeast bread, slightly sweet, takes me back to those days.

The other tradition for Easter dinner was leg of lamb (we always called it "leggo lamb"), which was very confusing for a young Catholic girl. We'd go to Easter mass and sing about the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. Then we'd go home and eat the lamb for dinner! We were eating Jesus!

The horror. I was definitely scarred for life.

We're past the Easter egg coloring stage in our house, and don't have any grandchildren yet, so we don't tuck colored eggs into the braid before cooking it. I think you get the idea without the eggs in the bread basket, don't you?

Ingredients

1 package active dry yeast or 2 1/4 tsp bottled dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup milk
1 3.4 oz (large) package lemon pudding
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 to 4 1/2 cups flour
3 eggs, beaten
4 decorated hard boiled Easter eggs, if desired
1 tbsp water
1 egg, beaten
Nonpareil candies for decoration

Directions

Place the active dry yeast and sugar in a small bowl and stir in the warm water. Let sit 10 minutes, until the yeast begins to bubble. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the lemon pudding and salt. Add the butter, then pour hot milk over pudding mixture. Stir continuously until the butter melts and pudding dissolves. Allow it cool to lukewarm.

Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the flour and mix well. Stir the yeast and 3 beaten eggs; beat well. Gradually stir in the rest of flour. Turn out on lightly floured surface or kneading bowl, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes.

Knead till smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover; let rise till double, about 1 hour.

Easter Basket Bread dough in kneading bowl
This kneading bowl is easier for me to use than a floured surface.

Punch down; let rise again till almost double about 60 minutes. Turn out on lightly floured surface or kneading bowl and divide dough in half, then form each half into 3 balls. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Grease two pie pans or 9x2 round pans.

For each basket, roll each ball into an 18 inch ropes with your hands. Braid the three strands together, pinching together the ends then tucking them under as you coil the braid into each pan. If you're using Easter eggs, tuck the eggs in the loops of the braid. Let rest in a warm place for 20 minutes.

Brush the tops with egg, then sprinkle with nonpareils. Bake at 375° for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the bread sounds somewhat hollow when rapped with a knuckle.

Makes two bread rings.

4 comments:

Maria Sisci April 21, 2014 at 7:15 AM  

wow this is like the prettiest bread haha i, too, have tried braiding bread on my blog (Www.happybelly.org.uk) but they haven't turned out as beautiful as this!

Angela Williams Duea April 21, 2014 at 8:03 AM  

Thank you! It tastes really good, too. I will check out your braided bread.

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