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Sweet and Golden Easter Bread Recipe

Sweet and Golden Easter Bread Recipe

It is an Italian tradition to make this sweet, golden braid at Easter. This family heirloom recipe came from my mother-in-law, which was passed down to her from her mother. If you're not a fan of raisins, the bread is just as wonderful without them. —Kathi West, Canton, Michigan
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + rising Bake: 35 min. + cooling YIELD:32 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1-1/3 cups warm milk (110° to 115°)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons anise extract
  • 6 to 6-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions

  • 1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, butter and salt; mix well. Add eggs, extract and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  • 2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • 3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; sprinkle with raisins and knead in. Divide in half. Divide each portion into thirds. Shape each into a 14-in. rope. Place three ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  • 4. Whisk egg white and water; brush over braids. Bake at 325° for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 loaves.

Nutritional Facts

1 slice equals 158 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 24 mg cholesterol, 130 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.