Original Post: Ever since I've known Freda, I have been fortunate to eat her amazing baked goods. One of my favorite things to eat every year is her homemade Easter bread from scratch. It's something so special to look forward to at this time of year!
This year, she called me and asked if I would like to learn how to make this recipe. Of course!! What an honor! When I got down to her house (which is only a short walk away), she gave me the recipe card and said, "Okay! Go ahead!" Much to my surprise, she let me make the bread on my own while she simply sat back and watched :)
This bread does take a little bit of time, only because it needs to sit and rise a few times. Other than that, I was amazed to see that it wasn't too difficult. But then again, it doesn't have to be difficult to be delicious!!
So, it is my pleasure to share this treasured family recipe with you all!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 3 hours
Yield: 4 loaves
- 6 packets active dry yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water (between 105 - 110 degrees F)
- 1 cup milk, scalded and cooled
- 6 eggs, beaten slightly
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
- 9-10 cups flour
- 1 egg yolk
- 5 Tablespoons water
- In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast in lukewarm water with 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Let sit for about 15 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer** add milk, eggs, vanilla, oil, salt, remaining sugar, and butter. Add yeast/water mixture. Mix well.
- Gradually add flour until you reach 9 cups. If the dough is still sticky, add slightly more flour until the dough releases from the sides and feels tacky to touch.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes.
- Grease the inside of a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl. Swirl around and coat the dough. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough and knead for 1 minute. Cover and let rise for another hour.
- Roll the dough out onto a flat surface and separate the dough into 4 even amounts. Separate each piece into 3 equal pieces. Roll out each piece into a long strip, at about 1-inch in diameter. Lay the strips next to each other and braid, sealing both ends.
- Lay the braided dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (You can fit 2 braids on a large baking sheet.) Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small dish, combine egg yolk and water. Brush the egg mixture on the top of each braid. Bake for 30 minutes, turning once at 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
**Note** I first used this exact recipe in a 5-quart stand mixer. It was a tight squeeze! I then tried it with my 6-quart bowl and it worked much better. If you have a concern about the dough fitting, you can half the recipe!