I've made this Easter treat for 20 years! Colored hard-cooked eggs baked in the dough give this sweet bread such a festive look. Leave them out and it can be enjoyed anytime of year. My husband especially enjoys this bread with baked ham. -Heather Durante, Wellsburg, West Virginia
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1 to 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 to 6-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups whole milk
- 6 tablespoons butter, cubed
- 4 large eggs
- 3 to 6 hard-cooked large eggs, unpeeled
- Assorted food coloring
- Canola oil
- 2 tablespoons water
- In a large bowl, mix sugar, yeast, cardamom, salt and 2 cups flour. In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients; beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Add 3 eggs; beat on high 2 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
- Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, dye hard-cooked eggs with food coloring following package directions. Let stand until completely dry.
- Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into thirds. Roll each portion into a 24-in. rope. Place ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid. Bring ends together to form a ring. Pinch ends to seal. Lightly coat dyed eggs with oil; arrange on braid, tucking them carefully between ropes.
- Cover with a kitchen towel; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°.
- In a bowl, whisk remaining egg and water; gently brush over dough, avoiding eggs. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 1 loaf (16 slices).
Originally published as Easter Egg Bread in Taste of Home April/May 2003, p41
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